Pork producers wary of new China tariffs

Farmers for Free Trade, an agricultural trade group, calls the 25 percent tariff from China on pork a tax on farmers. (Photo Pixabay)

By Greg Halbleib

Local pork producers are watching closely as China has followed through on its warning to impose retaliatory tariffs on many U.S. commodities.

The highest tariffs of 25 percent are on pork products. China said they are in response to President Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Dave Warner of the National Pork Producers Council said that will sting.

“It’s a very important market,” Warner said. “We have the potential to send a lot more pork there, but with higher tariffs we’re not going to be as competitive as some other countries going in there with lower tariffs.”

China has also threatened to target about $14 billion in U.S. soybeans sold there each year.

China is the second largest destination for U.S. pork exports with more than $1 billion worth of pork sold there each year. Jim Monroe of the National Pork Producers Council is concerned that countries such as Germany and Denmark could now take some of that business.

“China is one of the largest pork-consuming and producing nations in the world,” Monroe said. “There are other countries that obviously produce and export pork, and this development puts us in a less-competitive situation compared to those countries.”

Monroe said pork producers hope the U.S. and China resolve the trade differences so that pork sales continue to expand in China.

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