Commodity, pork and dairy companies in the US have welcomed the passing of free trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

Congress approved the agreements on Wednesday (12 October), eliminating tariffs on US products exported to those countries.

Agribusiness giant Cargill, pork producer and processor Smithfield Foods, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) all released statements praising the agreements, which they say will boost exports and create jobs.

Smithfield president and CEO Larry Pope called the developments a “major victory” for the pork industry as the Department for Agriculture predicts that meat and poultry exports will increase by US$2.1bn a year to South Korea alone. He said: “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.”

The NPPC called the passing of the free trade agreements one of the “greatest victories ever for the US pork industry” and claims it will create 10,000 jobs.

However, Doug Wolf, NPPC president and a pork producer from Wisconsin, warned the agreements must be put into place without delay

“The longer it takes to implement, the more US market share in these nations will be imperilled”, he said.

The three agreements, meanwhile, will bring the dairy industry $400m in annual exports of cheese, whey, milk powders and other dairy products, said the IDFA, which “commended” the US government’s actions.

Elsewherer, US agribusiness giant Cargill called the developments a “significant milestone in US trade history” and predicts they will improve living conditions around the world.