NPPC: China should reduce tariffs to lower food inflation, move talks
China should remove the 60 percent punitive tariff it has placed on U.S. pork to ease its own rising pork prices and move along trade talks with the United States, officials of the National Pork Producers Council said today.
If the Chinese government would do this, “it would help their citizens,” who are experiencing rising pork prices due to African swine fever, NPPC President David Herring, a Lillington, N.C. producer, said at a briefing for reporters following an NPPC fly-in to Washington.
With China forced to kill pigs to stop the spread of African swine fever and Chinese production down 50 percent, the U.S. producers should benefit, but the tariffs make U.S. pork too expensive to import, said Nick Giordano, NPPC vice president and counsel for global government affairs.
With the 60 percent tariff added to a 12 percent tariff already in place, the Chinese tariff on U.S. pork is 72 percent, Giordano noted, and the inability of U.S. producers to export to China is costing pork producers $8 per animal sold.
U.S. pork producers are benefiting from rising world pork prices due to lower Chinese production, but the benefits would be so much greater if the U.S. industry could export to China, he said.
“Our sector is one of those most impacted by the trade disputes,” Giordano said.
Instead of exporting in a period of Chinese shortages, American producers are watching their competitors in other countries make those sales, he added.
Removing the tariff “would be viewed favorably by our industry but more importantly by the U.S. government,” Giordano said.
Asked whether the fact that the Chinese tariffs are in retaliation for U.S. tariffs means that President Donald Trump should reduce American tariffs to encourage the Chinese to reduce theirs, Giordano said, “We don’t always talk publicly about our discussions with the administration. The administration understands that this has taken quite a toll on the industry.”
The trade aid package has been welcome but has not made up for producers’ losses, the officials said.
Jen Sorenson, an Iowa producer who is a vice president of the council, said that the trade aid that has been “positive” because people who have not been able to afford pork now have it.
The officials also called for approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade and Giordano said he believes Congress will vote on it.
–The Hagstrom Report