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Hog producers could feel the effects of U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steel

Hog producers could feel the effects of U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steel

Other countries could place tariffs on pork as a retaliatory measure

By Diego Flammini
News Reporter

Potential U.S. tariffs on imported goods could have ripple effects on the American agricultural industry.

President Trump announced his intentions to impose 25 per cent and 10 per cent tariffs on  aluminum and steel imports, respectively, during a meeting with representatives from these U.S. industries last week.

He also announced that no countries would be exempt from the tariffs.

With a global trade war looming, American trading partners could be looking for ways to retaliate. And pork tariffs could be on the table.

“The U.S. exports pork to several different countries that also export steel and aluminum back to the United States,” Tyler Fulton, director of risk management with Hams Marketing in Headingley, Man., told today. “So my concern is that if the United States places these countries on a list that would have tariffs apply to them, they could retaliate with something like pork.”

Pork has been a “popular product in the past to use as leverage,” Fulton said.

In 1999, Mexico placed a tariff of 35 cents per kilogram on U.S. live hog imports. And in 2010 the country placed a 5 per cent tariff on U.S. ham and pork imports.

This time around, hog prices could face pressure from one of its leading markets.

The U.S. exported more than 495,000 metric tonnes of pork to China in 2017, worth more than $1 billion, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. If China decides to put tariffs on pork imports, it could have a significant impact on producers.

China is already considering limiting imports of American sorghum in response to tariffs President Trump placed on solar panels and washing machines.

“I think any time there’s the potential for a trade war, you can’t underestimate the impact Chinese decisions would have, especially on North American pork markets,” Fulton said.

Aluminum and steel import tariffs could also impact other agricultural industries.

The price of machinery could rise and other U.S ag products could be subject to import tariffs.

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