Pork sector reacts to Chinese tariffs

Pork sector reacts to Chinese tariffs
Apr 03, 2018

China imposed tariffs on 128 U.S. products

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

One of America’s largest trading partners has imposed tariffs that will impact about US$2 billion worth of agricultural goods.

Yesterday, China’s Ministry of Commerce announced the government’s decision to impose 25-percent tariffs on several products, including pork.

The U.S. and China have been threatening one another with tariffs since President Trump announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in early March.

Pork producers thought the countries would use the threats of levies as a negotiation tactic.

“We were hoping it was just brinkmanship and cooler heads would prevail. But instead, some of our worst fears seem to be coming true,” Brian Duncan, an Ogle County, Ill. hog farmer and vice-president of the Illinois Farm Bureau, told the Chicago Tribune yesterday. “This is significant, real and serious for rural America.”

China is America’s second-largest agricultural export market. More than US$21 billion worth of U.S. agricultural exports traveled to China in 2016, including more than US$1 billion in pork.

Any tariffs on pork exports to China will be costly, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) said.

“Exports are extremely critical to the financial well-being of our producers,” Neil Dierks, CEO of the NPPC, said in a statement yesterday. “We are disappointed that China has placed an additional 25 percent tariff on U.S. pork exports.”

A total of 128 products will be subject to Chinese tariffs, including 15-percent tariffs on other agricultural goods like apples and grapes. But the Chinese don’t want these tariffs to linger.

“As the two largest economies in the world, cooperation between China and the United States is the only correct choice,” the commerce ministry’s statement said. “The two sides should resolve their concerns through dialogue and negotiation.”

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