SMITHFIELD, Va. – Congressional approval of free-trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia is an economic windfall for the US, especially for the American pork industry, according to C. Larry Pope, president and CEO of Smithfield Foods Inc.

“As the CEO of the largest pork producer and processor in the world, I commend the leadership of Congress and the President for reaching a consensus,” he said. “These FTAs have the potential to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in US pork exports in the coming years, while creating new jobs that our country desperately needs.

As part of the agreement, with South Korea alone, annual US meat and poultry exports to that country are expected to increase by $2.1 billion, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

"Under the South Korea FTA, US pork exporters and others in the protein industry will be on a level playing field with our global competitors for the South Korean market,” Pope said.

After the Oct. 13 passage of the agreements by Congress, President Obama expressed his approval and said he looks forward to signing them as part of his plan to double American exports across the board.

"I am grateful for all the hard work of the Administration and Congress to realize passage of these agreements and look forward to working with our country's negotiators as they move toward implementation,” Pope concluded.