The Trump administration indicated it is planning a trade relief package in response to the U.S. trade dispute with China. President Donald Trump tweeted that he would use money raised from the recently increased tariffs on China to purchase $15 billion in agricultural products for humanitarian aid to help the ailing farm sector.
“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,” said David Herring, president of the National Pork Producers Council. “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.”
There are economic concerns that buying U.S. products for humanitarian aid would do little to help the domestic farm economy and could potentially disrupt local markets in the foreign countries receiving the aid. Despite those potential concerns, NPPC is supporting the move from the Trump Administration.
“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,” Herring said. “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.”