While last week's signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement looks promising for the long haul, the National Pork Producers Council says there needs to be an end to the current metal tariffs dispute. According to Dermont Hayes, an economist with Iowa State University, the retailiatory tariffs have cost U.S. pork producers an estimated $1.5 billion this year.
“We are very pleased with the new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, one that preserves zero-tariff pork trade in North America for the long term,” says NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “But, it’s imperative that we remove U.S. tariffs on Mexican metal imports so that retaliatory tariffs of 20% against U.S. pork are lifted.”
Hayes estimates that live hog values this year have been reduced by $12 per animal due to retaliatory tariffs imposed by Mexico against U.S. pork in June. The loss estimate of $1.5 billion is based on an expected total harvest of 125 million hogs in 2018.
These tariffs, along with China’s retaliatory tariffs, have turned what promised to be a profitable year into a year of losses for export-dependent U.S. pork producers. Hayes estimates U.S. pork producer losses of $ 1 billion, or $8 per animal, from the trade dispute with China. Over the weekend, President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a truce on trade, with Trump agreeing not to raise tariffs further while negotiations continue and China agreeing to purchase more U.S. agricultural, energy and other products.
Mexico and China represent approximately 40% of total U.S. pork exports.