IN what the industry hailed as a "big victory" for U.S. pork producers, Chile determined that no action should be taken to limit pork imports, including those from the U.S., after concluding an investigation on whether those imports were harming its domestic pork producers.
Chile initiated a "safeguard" investigation in May on all imported frozen pork. Under international trade rules, safeguard measures are temporary emergency actions, such as duty increases, taken against imported products that have caused or threaten to cause serious injury to the importing country's domestic industry.
The Chilean Pork Producers Assn. alleged that pork imports caused losses to its producers and called for a 14.3% additional duty on imported pork.
In its response, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) claimed that the charges of harm were unfounded and pleaded the U.S. pork industry's case against the safeguard measures.
NPPC pointed out that while U.S. pork exports to Chile have grown over the past eight years, they remain small and stable in relation to overall pork consumption and production in that country.
According to NPPC, although Chile's pork producers continue to account for more than 95% of domestic consumption, they also have significantly increased their sales in export markets.
After a 90-day investigation to determine whether safeguard measures should be imposed and at what rate, a Chilean commission decided that such measures weren't warranted.
"America's pork producers are pleased that Chile has found that U.S. pork exports to that country are not harming Chilean pork producers," said NPPC president Randy Spronk, a pork producer from Edgerton, Minn. "NPPC believed that the charges of harm were unsupported and led the defense of the U.S. pork industry against any safeguard action."
NPPC said Chile has become an important market for U.S. pork since the implementation of the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement in 2005. Last year, Chile was the 12th most valuable export destination for U.S. pork products, with almost 17,000 metric tons exported at a value of more than $42 million.