A handful of economists tell Politico that the African Swine Fever outbreak in China and parts of Europe won’t have a major impact on U.S. exports. That’s due in large part to the fact that the outbreak has hit only a fraction of the massive Chinese hog industry.
Chinese officials have culled hundreds of thousands of pigs from the nation’s herds since August, which sounds like a lot. However, that’s only a small part of the estimated 433 million pigs in China at the start of 2018. In fact, Politico points out that China has more hogs than the U.S. has people. If it gets to the point where China has to import pork, economists say it would turn to Canada or Europe first because of the 62 percent retaliatory tariffs on U.S. pork. If the disease gets out of control, China would effectively be forced to buy pork from the U.S., even with the high duty rates.
Dermot Hayes of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at Iowa State University says that would only come about if “the situation got very extreme.” African Swine Fever still hasn’t been found in the U.S.