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US hog farmers want to export more to China, not less: NPPC

(CRI Online)    08:05, April 03, 2018

The hog farmers and pork producers in the U.S. are said to be concerned about the tariff dispute between the United States and China. On the website of the U.S. National Pork Producers Council, a statement says that the Chinese retaliation on U.S. pork exports will harm the rural economy.

A statement on the website of the U.S. National Pork Producers Council says that the Chinese retaliation on U.S. pork exports will harm the rural economy. [Screenshot: China Plus]

A statement on the website of the U.S. National Pork Producers Council says that the Chinese retaliation on U.S. pork exports will harm the rural economy. [Screenshot: China Plus]

In the statement, NPPC's president Jim Heimerl notes, "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. No one wins in these tit-for-tat trade disputes, least of all the farmers and the consumers."

The statement hit the NPPC website on March 23rd after China announced countermeasures in response to a previous U.S. move to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Starting April 2nd, China has formally suspended the tariff concessions on 128 products including pork and fruits, according to the Ministry of Finance.

The Customs Tariff Commission of the Chinese State Council has decided to impose a tariff of 15 percent on 120 products imported from the United States including fruits and related products, and a tariff of 25 percent on eight items, including pork and related products, according to a statement posted on the ministry website.

Exports remain important for U.S. pork producers. Of all the pork produced in the United States, 26% is sent abroad. The U.S. National Pork Producers Council says the U.S. produces slightly over 20 billion US dollars’ worth of pork annually. 6.5 billion US dollars is exported overseas. Of that, 1.1 billion dollars is exported to China. Last year, China was the second largest U.S. pork export market by volume.

The NPPC's mission is to advocate to the U.S. government about public policy interests of U.S. pork producers. The hog farmer's number one public policy concern is trade and exports. The NPPC says hog farmers and the pork producers in the United States are very concerned about a trade war with China, suggesting hog farmers want to export more pork to China, not less.

What will the new pork tariffs mean for Chinese consumers?

There are over 1.4 billion people in China, making up nearly 19% of the total global population. Pork is a staple in China, with pork consumption second only to rice in the country. China's Ministry of Agriculture estimates the annual consumption of pork per person in China is 59 kilograms, accounting for more than half of global consumption.

By comparison, Americans consume around 23 kilograms of pork per year, according to data released in 2017 by Rabobank, a research firm specializing in food and agriculture. As such, Jim Monroe with the NPPC suggests it’s unlikely the United States would be able to make up the shortfall if pork exports to China dwindle amid the trade dispute.

The NPPC is calling on the U.S. government to enter into talks with China, with the NPPC's Jim Monroe saying it’s up to all countries to trade fairly and follow international rules. He says trade disputes need to be resolved in a way that doesn't harm businesses, farmers or consumers.

Despite worldwide objections, the Trump administration has decided to impose a 25-percent tariff on steel imports and a 10-percent tariff on aluminum from China. China could also be hit with other investment restrictions in the United States as the dispute moves forward.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry contends the U.S. measures, which went into effect on March 23, which has severely undermined China's interests, according to a statement.

The statement goes on to say that China advocates and supports a multilateral trade system, saying its move to suspend tariff concession on U.S. imports is a justifiable action to safeguard China's interests through WTO rules.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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