WASHINGTON – US poultry and egg producers, processors and exporters have praised passage of legislation by Congress to implement free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, according to a joint statement from the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and the United Egg Producers.

US poultry and egg industry success in the future greatly depends on continued expansion of exports, they wrote. Estimates relay these FTAs will generate almost $1.4 billion in additional US poultry and egg export sales annually when the agreements are fully implemented. Te US Department of Agriculture calculates the industry’s current annual exports of nearly $4.4 billion supports more than 50,400 US jobs, and that each $1 billion in US poultry and egg exports equals about 11,525 American jobs.

The US-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) will greatly improve market access for US poultry and egg exports to South Korea, mostly by duty reduction and elimination, they said. US poultry product exports to South Korea totaled $101 million in 2010. With KORUS FTA approval, US poultry meat exports to South Korea could rise to more than $150 million or 125,000 tons annually, with annual egg exports tripling to $12 million. Over the first 10 years of the agreement, this is expected to generate $720 million in exports.

Meanwhile, the US-Colombia FTA will cut duties, eliminate variable duties and would give the US a 27,040-metric ton tariff rate quota at zero duty with 4 percent annual growth for chicken-leg quarters. If the FTA is signed by President Obama, US exports to Colombia are expected to increase from $22 million of poultry and products to $42 million by 2015. As duties come down over the FTA’s implementation period, annual exports are expected to exceed 180,000 metric tons by 2020, which is worth $135 million. Over 10 years, the US-Colombia FTA is expected to generate $660 million in new US exports.

Within five years, the US-Panama FTA will eliminate duties on some poultry products and establish a preferential duty-free tariff rate quota for chicken-leg quarters that starts at 660 tons and grows each year by a 10-percent compound rate. Trade to this market is expected to grow steadily from $19 million in 2010 to $32.6 million by 2020 – for a total of $70 million in new trade over the next decade.