Retaliatory duties could put some American hog producers out of business
By Kate Ayers
China hit American pork products with a second round of tariffs, sending the total tax value soaring to 62 percent.
On Friday, China announced a new 25 percent tariff on U.S. pork, a National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) release said.
This punitive tax is added to a 25 percent levy that China put in place early April. The roots of the trade war between the two countries are linked to “China’s theft of U.S. intellectual property and its forced technology transfers,” Dave Warner, NPPC’s director of communications, said to Farms.com today.
And China already had a 12 per cent tariff on U.S. pork.
China represents an important market for American pork producers, as the country accounted for 17 per cent of the total value of U.S. exports last year.
As of Friday, American producers also face a 10 percent tariff increase from Mexico, raising that country’s total tax to 20 per cent.
“Both of those markets are very important to U.S. pork producers,” Warner said.
“Mexico is the U.S. pork industry’s number two export market, taking $1.5 billion (worth) of U.S. pork in 2017, and China is the number three export market, importing $1.1 billion last year.”
Economists from Iowa State University calculated that, from March through to May, producers lost $18 per hog or more than $2 billion on an annualized basis, the release said.
“The Trump administration has said it will help farmers hurt by the ongoing trade disputes, but it remains to be seen the form that will take,” Warner said.
“One possible action, which has been used by USDA in the past, is a supplemental purchase of pork for federal food programs, such as for the military, federal prisons and the needy.”
The American government has also helped pork producers by opening new markets in Argentina and Paraguay. “They aren’t huge markets, but every little bit helps, and Argentina … has great growth potential,” Warner added.
NPPC continues to urge the administration to end the trade disputes as soon as possible and to do whatever it can to help America’s farmers. The organization also advocates for the maintenance and expansion of existing export markets, and the opening of new ones.
Previous Farms.com coverage on retaliatory tariffs can be found here.
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