American pork producers are on losing end of U.S.-China trade war
By Kate Ayers
The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) wants quick action to resolve the United States-China trade dispute.
American pork producers have lost $2.2 billion on an annualized basis since March 1. The trade friction is not completely to blame for these loses but it has played a major part, Dermot Hayes, an Iowa State University economist, said in an NPPC release last week.
China enacted 25 percent retaliatory tariffs on such products as pork, metal, fruit and nuts in late March, following the U.S. implementation of tariffs on aluminum and steel.
Indeed, China is the world’s largest pork-consuming country, so NPPC wants to ensure American pork producers can increase their exports to that nation, the release said.
“U.S. pork has invested significantly to ramp (up) production to capitalize on growth opportunities around the world, including China and other markets throughout the Asia-Pacific region,” Jim Heimerl, an Ohio pig farmer and NPPC president, said in the release.
“We applaud the administration for making the expansion of agriculture exports a cornerstone of the discussions with China. We hope the next round of trade talks with China results in improved market access to a critical export market for U.S. pork and other farm products.”
This export market uncertainty has come at a time when the United States is expanding pork production to record levels, the release said.
Soon, five new pork processing plants will all be in operation, increasing pork production by about 10 percent by next year compared to the country’s capacity in 2015.
Exports are an important aspect of the American pork industry as they accounted for over $53 of the average $149 value of a hog last year. In fact, the U.S. has generally been the world’s number one supplier of pork over the last 10 years, the release said.
“We produce the safest highest-quality and most affordable pork in the world,” Heimerl said.
“Eliminating punitive tariffs and improving access to China by eliminating or reducing tariffs on frozen and chilled pork would result in an explosion of pork exports, contributing significantly to U.S. economic growth and reduction of the trade deficit.”