The U.S. Congress is expected to approve a free trade agreement with South Korea as early as next week. The director of Iowa State University’s Bio-Based Industry Center, Bruce Babcock, says agriculture will gain from the agreement.
“I think who’s really happy here would be the pork producers,” Babcock says, “The world is wanting more pork. Iowa is the least cost producer of pork in the world. So I think pork producers will be the most happy people if this free trade agreement goes through.” Babcock says pork processors, corn and soybean farmers, and farm equipment suppliers also will benefit.
He says the winners in the United States will be exporters of food, farm equipment, the kinds of things that Iowa exports. Not everyone will benefit from the agreement though.
Babcock says the losers will be workers in manufacturing goods where South Korea has a comparative advantage over the United States. The Iowa Farm Bureau estimates more than one thousand agriculture-related jobs would be created, while the agreement would increase the value of Iowa exports.
But Babcock says the economic impact might be even greater over the long-term. Babcock made his comments on the Iowa Public Radio Program “The Exchange.”