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Trade Agreements Help Maryland Poultry

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Maryland poultry-makers are optimistic about the new markets opened up by the free trade agreements signed by Congress earlier in October.
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Maryland poultry-makers are optimistic about the new markets opened up by the free trade agreements signed by Congress earlier in October.

Officials with the National Chicken Council in Maryland say they are optimistic about President Obama’s new Free Trade Agreements with Panama South Korea and Columbia. They say the new agreements will likely give a much-needed shot in the arm to the poultry business, which has been plagued in recent months by rising feed and grain costs forcing even giants of the industry, like Perdue, to lay off dozens of workers.

Poultry farmers in Maryland and Delaware should see a spike in their export business, as historically unpopular parts of the chicken here in the United States, such as the gizzard, the feet, and the knees, are shipped abroad, where they are deemed to be a delicacy in other countries.

Maryland’s poultry exports worldwide will reach almost $165 million this year, and in Delaware that number is even higher. Both states could see that total increase by $40 million dollars and see hundreds of new jobs by 2022.

Early in October, Congress passed long-expected free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. Meat producers are one of the main industries expected to benefit from the agreements, alongside machinery and equipment makers and the chemical and plastic products industries.

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