With the amount of pork that the U.S. is producing right now, trade and exports have never been more important, said AgriTalk’s Chip Flory during the Farmer Forum on Wednesday.

A big question hangs in the air – as we make a new transition in the White House to a Biden administration, what does that mean for trade and the pork industry?

“I’m optimistic,” said Jen Sorenson, National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) president-elect and communications director at Iowa Select Farms. We’re keeping our foot on the gas on trade. We’ve grown to be a top exporter of pork. We’re exporting more than ever before. And when we have a free trade agreement, we have a good opportunity and a level playing field.”

She said one of the biggest opportunities the industry has now is the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), formerly known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“We’ve been a really vocal supporter of TPP. We were majorly bummed when Trump bowed out of that right away when he started his administration,” Sorenson said. “He withdrew those remaining countries, stayed at the table, negotiated a new trade deal and left us out at a serious competitive disadvantage.”

Re-entering into that agreement is one of the NPPC’s top priorities. Many of the countries currently in CPTPP are among the largest pork consuming nations in the world, she added.

“We’re eager to get back in those conversations and get that as a priority with the new Biden administration. We are optimistic about those talks and being able to get at the table and hopefully move that forward,” Sorenson said.

Current United Kingdom-U.S. free trade agreement talks going on under the current administration are also a great opportunity for U.S. pork.

“They have culinary tastes similar to ours and a population of 66 million people,” she said. “So, we hope that those talks continue to advance forward. Of course, that is the area where they have non-tariff trade barriers,” she said. “We need all of those removed to have international production standards realized under those trade agreements. It’s an opportunity for pork producers and I’m optimistic.”

Farm Journal’s Pork | Jennifer Shike | December 02