The President announced plans to impose tariffs on $50bn in Chinese goods as well as limiting the country’s investment in the US. He said this was in response to years of alleged intellectual property theft.
In a statement, China’s commerce ministry said: “China will not sit idly by and let its legitimate rights and interests be harmed, and will certainly take all necessary measures to resolutely defend its legitimate rights and interests.”
The North American Meat Institute president and CEO Barry Carpenter said: “The Meat Institute commends the Trump Administration’s efforts to promote fairer, more open and transparent trade with China, but we are concerned that the tariffs on Chinese imports announced today will serve only to undermine our access to the Chinese market and risk escalation of a trade war.
“While we share the Administration’s commitment to levelling the playing field for American workers and businesses, the ramifications of the tariffs for US agriculture are particularly troubling. China, in 2017, was the US’ second-largest agricultural export market. China also was the third-largest market for US pork and fourth-largest market for US beef by value in 2017. Moreover, 60% of US hides and skins exports, which total $2 billion annually, are sent to China.”
Carpenter urged the government to come up with a more moderate solution to the perceived problem.
“It’s clear the future growth of the US agricultural economy, and meat and poultry sector, depends upon a robust trade relationship with China. This restrictive trade policy will not only undercut US agricultural exports and economic growth, but will also cause undue harm to America’s agricultural communities, which will likely bear the brunt of China’s retaliatory measures.
“We urge the Administration to adopt a more constructive approach regarding China trade policy, with the goal of preserving and expanding US market access and protecting millions of American jobs.”
National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) also warned of the impact a trade war would have on rural America. China has indicated it will impose the duties in response to US tariffs and restrictions – announced today – being placed on a host of Chinese goods.
“We sell a lot of pork to China, so higher tariffs on our exports going there will harm our producers and undermine the rural economy,” said NPPC president Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “No one wins in these tit-for-tat trade disputes, least of all the farmers and the consumers.”