The National Pork Producers responded to President Trump’s plan to impose a five percent tariff on all Mexican imports by June 10. NPPC President David Herring appealed to Trump to reconsider his plans to open a new trade dispute with Mexico. “American pork producers cannot afford retaliatory tariffs from its largest export market which Mexico will surely implement,” he says. “Over the last year, trade disputes with Mexico and China have cost hard-working U.S. pork producers and their families about $2.5 billion.”
Herring is asking Washington to move forward with ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement and preserve zero-tariff pork trade in North America for the long term. “We’re also asking for a trade agreement with Japan,” he says, “as well as a resolution to the trade dispute with China. U.S. pork has a historic opportunity to make inroads into the Chinese market as the country continues to struggle with the African Swine Fever outbreak.” For most of the past year, American pork farmers have lost about $12 per hog due to trade retaliation by Mexico, which recently lifted the retaliatory tariffs last week.
Those numbers come directly from Iowa State University Economist Dermot Hayes, who says U.S. pork producers will lose the entire Mexican market if they face protracted retaliation. Mexico brought in 20 percent of total U.S. pork exports last year.
Pork producers have been hit hard by the trade war with China, to the tune of about $2.5 billion. A part of the administration’s trade aid announced last year, the USDA announced a food purchase and distribution program.
The agency would buy pork and other farm products for various food-assistance programs. North Carolina pork producer and NPPC President David Herring had a lot to say on the topic during an op-ed piece in The Hill. Herring says the program’s overarching goals are to provide demand stimulus for the entire pork industry. “Unfortunately, some people are focused on whether the meat companies have some degree of foreign ownership,” he says. “That is irrelevant.
Since when is foreign ownership of U.S. companies that employ thousands of Americans, purchase millions of hogs, and produce U.S. pork a problem?” He says that if foreign-owned companies are not permitted to participate in government purchase programs, those programs likely will not work. Going into 2018, the financial analysts had forecast profits for U.S. hog producers.
However, those forecasts were turned upside down by trade retaliation penalties. “Only now are we starting to pull out of the red,” Herring adds, “but because of trade retaliation, our small profits are significantly suppressed.”
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 10, 2019 – The Trump administration today indicated it is planning a trade relief package in response to the U.S. trade dispute with China. The following statement may be attributed to David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, North Carolina and president of the National Pork Producers Council:
“U.S. pork has suffered from a disproportionate share of retaliation due to trade disputes with Mexico and China. This retaliation turned last year — which analysts had forecast to be profitable — into a very unprofitable time for U.S. pork producers. The financial pain continues; the 20% punitive tariff on pork exported to Mexico alone amounts to a whopping $12 loss per animal.
“While there is no substitute for resolving these trade disputes and getting back to normal trade, NPPC welcomes the offer of assistance from President Trump. We stand ready to work with the USDA to facilitate U.S. pork exports as food aid to a number of nations. This assistance should not cannibalize commercial trade. Rather, it should help people in need who otherwise would not have access to this high-quality U.S. protein.
“Pork producers have been innocent bystanders in these trade disputes. Unlike most of the population, they have suffered severe economic dislocations as a result of trade disputes. It is fair and right that the U.S. government purchase significant quantities of pork over the next 18 months to ship as food aid to help ease the financial burden placed on producers.”