The National Pork Producers Council warned that possible Chinese tariffs on U.S. pork could have a significant negative impact on rural America. China has indicated it will impose the duties in response to U.S. tariffs and restrictions – 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.”
Last year, the U.S. pork industry exported $1.1 billion of product to China, making that country the No. 2 value market for U.S. pork.
Many economists, including Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, have cautioned that tariffs on U.S. agricultural products could disrupt exports to China. Lost sales would have severe economic consequences for America’s farmers, who shipped nearly $20 billion of goods to the Asian nation in 2017.
The U.S. restrictions on Chinese imports come after an inquiry by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) into China’s practices related to technology transfer, licensing and intellectual property rights. USTR’s Section 301 – of the 1974 Trade Act – investigation determined that U.S. companies have lost billions of dollars from being forced by China to disclose intellectual property and to transfer technology.
“When it comes to trade, we expect all countries to follow international rules and to trade fairly,” Heimerl said. “We also expect all countries to resolve trade disputes in a way that doesn’t harm businesses, farmers and consumers.”