China and the US ignited the so-called ‘trade war’ after both markets implemented retaliatory tariffs on each other, significantly impacting America’s pork trade.
To this day, US pork producers face tariffs of 62% on exports to China, which imposed a 25% tariff in April 2018 in response to US tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminium. The Asian nation later added another 25% duty in retaliation for the US tariffs levied on a host of Chinese goods.
In response to the trade talks with China, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) said that trade differences had “chronically suppressed” US pork exports and has asked China to import a minimum of US$3.5bn of US pork over the next five years.
“China has been a tremendous market for US pork and, without numerous trade barriers, probably would be our number one export market,” said NPPC’s president Jim Heimerl.
“But, never mind China’s pre-existing barriers on US pork, the 50% punitive tariffs on US pork have slowed our exports to a trickle. We call on the Chinese to begin immediate purchases of US pork of at least 350,000 tons each year from the US for the next five years.”
Iowa State University’s economist Dermot Hayes calculated that, due to the 50% tariffs, US pork producers had lost $8 per hog, or more than $1bn on an annualised basis. Hayes believed that if China purchased at least 350,000 tonnes of US pork each year for five years, the total deal would amount to approximately US$3.5bn in sales.
According to NPPC, China is the largest consumer of pork in the world and the US shipped $1.1bn of pork to the Asian nation in 2017.