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Trade tariffs on U.S. pork hurts Chinese consumers, too, Iowa Pork Producers president says

By Staff | Apr 6, 2018



China’s most recent import duties imposed on U.S. pork products on Monday won’t just affect American pig farmers and consumers, according to Gregg Hora, president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

“We also have to realize this could have a financial impact on consumers in China,” Hora, of Fort Dodge, said. “Because if they are short of meat products that they have come to rely on from the United States, they may have a higher cost of meat products to the Chinese consumers.”

However, there is concern that other countries will step in to fill those market voids left by the U.S., he said.

The European Union provides more than 60 percent of imported pork into China. Canada and the United States each supply about 14 percent.

“As U.S. pork producers, we are concerned about losing our percentage of market share to someone else due to these trade disputes, which is why this tariff at 25 percent has been put on,” he said.

Hora, who owns a hog and crop farm in Webster County, said other countries in Central and South America are growing in their pork needs.

“We continue to look at various market channels of emerging economies around the world,” he said. “Mostly in Central America because of the accessibility of moving a food product that is relatively short distance.”

About 27 percent of all pork raised in the U.S. in 2017 was exported.

He said the U.S. has had agreements with Colombia and Paraguay, among other South American countries in the last several years.

“We also continue to have new opportunities in South Africa, which is only fairly recent market opportunity within the past two years,” Hora said. “We want to continue to look at other areas of the world, but we all have to recognize the valuable impact of the $1.4 billion Chinese have in consuming pork items from the United States.”

The biggest markets for U.S. pork exports are always Mexico, Japan, and China, according to Hora.

In 2017 the U.S. exported $6.5 billion of pork, which had a direct impact on 110,000 American jobs, according to Hora.

“The impact of the recent announcement is disappointing that China continues to place a 25 percent tariff on all U.S. pork exports,” Hora said. “The impact in the pig market has been felt by U.S. pig farmers as we continue to have losses in the profitability, which is concerning to a lot of Iowans because of the number of jobs related to the pork industry in Iowa.”

About 128 products have been impacted by China’s retaliation, according to published news reports.

“We hope that continued efforts with the administration and the trade representatives can resolve some of these concerns of the profitability and the market channels we would like to continue to provide pork to the Chinese consumers,” Hora said. “Last year with over $1 billion of U.S. pork going into China, we realize it’s a major market for us. But U.S. pork producers are committed to continuing to look at other markets in the nearly 100 other countries that buy U.S. pork from the United States.”

He added, “We continue to hope for American jobs and the economics of pig farmers here in Iowa and across the United States that this 25 percent tariff will be a short lived concern and that we can have trade agreements, and they will continue to favorable for America’s pig farmers and consumers around the world that want to continue to improve their diets and improve their economic base and nutrition base in their countries.”

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