WASHINGTON – If three free-trade agreements currently pending would pass and be implemented, they would represent an additional $2.3 billion in meat and poultry exports and the potential creation of 29,524 new jobs, according to a white paper released on June 15 by the American Meat Institute.

“It is clear that the road to both robust job and economic growth lies in expanding America’s export markets,” said J. Patrick Boyle, A.M.I. president and chief executive officer. Mr. Boyle said the trade expansion deals between the U.S. and South Korea, Panama and Colombia have been awaiting Congressional approval for years and the U.S. is losing market share as a result.

“While the U.S. is waiting to enact these F.T.A.s, our competitors are moving forward,” Mr. Boyle said.

Data reveals passage of the agreements could increase U.S. exports of beef by $1.4 billion, pork by $772 million and poultry by $102 million. The jobs resulting from this growth, both in the commodity groups and downstream, would include an estimated 18,000 jobs in the beef industry, 10,300 jobs in the pork industry and 1,200 jobs in the poultry industry. Trade numbers are based on projections from the respective commodity groups. Job creation data is based on employment multiplier projections from U.S.D.A.’s Economic Research Service (E.R.S.) and industry groups, which estimate:

• For every $1 billion in beef exports, 12,700 jobs are created.
• For every $1 billion in pork exports, 13,333 jobs are created.
• For every $1 billion in poultry exports, 11,853 jobs are created.

In 2009, the value of exported meat, poultry and related products totaled $11.7 billion, up from $9.4 billion in 2007. U.S. meat exports are predicted to rise over the next decade, from 5.9 million metric tons in 2009 to nearly 7.1 million metric tons in 2019, according to E.R.S.

“However, if we are going to realize this potential, we need to pass these trade agreements and move forward on expanding our export markets as well as exploring new trade opportunities,” Mr. Boyle said. “With meat and poultry consumption rising in many nations around the world as a result of economic development and population growth, we have millions of increasingly affluent, potential customers. But if the United States is not there to fill their plates, other major exporting nations will.”

For a copy of the white paper, clickhere.