How does the trade war affect the US meat industry financially?

By Ashley Williams contact

- Last updated on GMT

The US meat industry could lose millions of dollars if the trade war continues
The US meat industry could lose millions of dollars if the trade war continues
Despite the US drawing up a short-term strategy by investing US$12m to farmers affected by retaliatory tariffs, farmers still seem to be sweating about what the future may hold for the industry.

The investment does give farmers some hope to re-igniting their businesses, but could one more wrong decision by the at times unpredictable US President Donald Trump see businesses crumble right in front of farmer’s eyes?

Surprisingly, some farmers have revealed they are confident that Trump can save the US agricultural industry despite his controversial decisions regarding tariffs.

But eye-watering figures on how much the meat sector could lose from US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) analysis could give Trump a serious wake-up call.

USMEF revealed losses to the US pork industry from tariffs imposed by China could result in losses totalling $9 per head or $770 million in the May to December period alone and $1.14 billion in losses for the full year.

Tariffs imposed by Mexico on US pork could also result in $300 million in losses to the pork sector for the remainder of the year.

Meanwhile in the beef sector, USMEF estimated that export losses to China this year will likely exceed $30 million and could total hundreds of millions over the next several years.

The North American Meat Institute’s president Barry Carpenter explained that once foreign markets are lost to competitors, it is “extraordinarily​” difficult to regain them.

US agriculture is the largest sector of the US economy and meat is the largest sector of agriculture​,” said Carpenter. “The ripple effects of these trade disputes on farmers, grain and feed producers, transportation, and local economies is still being quantified, but undoubtedly enormous and far-reaching.

“It is critical that our government engage in dialogues with our trading partners that can rebuild relationships and restore markets before more permanent damage is done to our vibrant agricultural economy and the people who drive it​.”

According to GlobalMeatNews’ State of the Industry report​, the US was regarded as one of the global powerhouses of meat trade and the largest meat exporter at $16.3 billion during 2017.

However, the next few months could determine whether the US’ place as a leading figure in the meat industry is in jeopardy.

Related topics: United States, Industry & Markets

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