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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press The Washington Post Tells Readers That the Korean Trade Pact Would Send Pork Prices Soaring

The Washington Post Tells Readers That the Korean Trade Pact Would Send Pork Prices Soaring

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Monday, 30 August 2010 04:18

The Washington Post told readers that the Korean trade pact would raise the price of hogs by $10 each, roughly a 20 percent increase. The context was a claim that the pact would be very important to Indiana farmers. If this is true, then it implies that the Korean trade pact will put serious upward pressure on food prices in the United States.

It is extremely unlikely that more open agricultural trade with a relatively small market could have such a dramatic impact on farm prices. More likely, it is one of the nonsense stories that proponents of trade pacts routinely circulate with the expectation that news outlets like the Washington Post will repeat them unquestioningly. Of course a serious newspaper would point out the implications of such a claim, if it were true.

Comments (5)Add Comment
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written by Joe, August 30, 2010 7:29
Hogs are only $50? That is way too cheap.
another austerity hint?
written by frankenduf, August 30, 2010 8:49
this article is actually consistent with the economic conditions- the empirical data clearly show that americans have been living too high on the hog for awhile now
$10/hog ain't much
written by Keith, August 30, 2010 10:13
A farmer in Indiana today sells a typical market hog for about $150. Adding $10 to the value of a hog would be a 6.7% increase, not 20%. I have no idea if the trade pact would increase pork prices that much but that wouldn't add much to the average Americans food bill. By the way, Americans spend the smallest share of their income on food in the world, which is one reason we're such porkers.
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written by AK, August 31, 2010 2:24
Hog prices are quoted per cwt (hundredweight, or 100 lbs) so a nominal price of $50/cwt means $150 for a 300lb porker.

South Korea isn't such a small market either. We're talking about 50 million people, with per capita pork consumption of about 20kg/yr (pretty close to U.S. per capita consumption).
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written by izzatzo, August 31, 2010 8:05
That can't be right. Neither Robert Byrd nor Ted Stevens weighed anywhere near 300 pounds.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

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