The grand expansion of the pork industry is in danger of slowing significantly due to new retaliatory tariffs imposed on the industry by China and other countries. In total, China has placed a 62% retaliatory tariff on pork products imported into the country, which means that 40% of all total exports are now under tariffs. These tariffs were partly in response to the tariffs placed on China in respect to intellectual property theft as well as US steel tariffs. 

In the US, there are about 550,000 total jobs that are connected to the pork industry, and of those jobs, 110,000 of them are strongly connected to the export of pork, proving how important the pork industry is to the overall economy. 

As a result of these tariffs, American pig farmers and pork producers fear for the well-being of their industry and are wondering just how much money they will lose. As it stands, China is one of the world’s highest consumers of pork products, and the export value of pork to the country totals around $1.1 billion. 

Mexico has also put tariffs into effect this year. Back in June, they enacted a 10 percent tariff on frozen and chilled pork products. These pork tariffs were in direct retaliation to the steel and aluminum tariffs that the Trump administration placed on the country earlier in the year. 

Many pig farmers worry that their business will not survive this trade war. Although they have been told that they should be good patriots and that sacrifice is necessary, they still have families and employees to take care of, and these tariffs are risking their livelihoods. Some believe that these tariffs will all but shutout American pork producers from the lucrative Chinese market. Farmers also worry that a surplus of unsold pork products will hurt their business even more. 

Another factor that pig farmers worry about is that there is more competition than ever. Canada, the European Union, and Brazil all vie for the same Chinese market. Many are concerned that those competitors will fill the gap that American pork producers leave behind. 

Big name food companies are also worried about the increasing tariffs. Hormel Foods states that the tariffs were a challenge to their export margins and that they were monitoring the situation very closely. Tyson Foods is also worried about the tariffs, stating that the uncertainty has taken away the competitive edge they had offer other pork producing markets. 
Smithfield Foods, based in Virginia, is the US’s largest pork producers and is owned by the WH Group, a Chinese company. They had no comment on tariffs. 

To alleviate some of the effects of the tariffs, the Trump administration has discussed crafting a plan to help pig farmers through the use of subsidies. But not all farmers agree that would be the best way to move forward. They want to eliminate trade barriers and have open markets. But they fear, in the end, they will be the biggest causality of the Trump administration’s trade war.

Published by Tranding Stories