Is Planned Trade Relief Package Too Little, Too Late?

President Donald Trump addresses the 2018 Farm Bureau Convention ( Farm Bureau )

The Trump administration indicated on Friday that it is planning a trade relief package in response to the U.S. trade dispute with China. 

"U.S. pork has suffered from a disproportionate share of retaliation due to trade disputes with Mexico and China,” says David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C. and president of the National Pork Producers Council. “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,” 

Herring says although 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,” he says.

The pork industry has suffered severe economic dislocations as a result of these trade disputes. Pork exports totaled 211,688 mt in March, down 7% from a year ago, valued at $520.7 million (down 15%). First quarter exports were 6% below last year’s pace in volume (600,268 mt) and down 14% in value ($1.47 billion). 

"Pork producers have been innocent bystanders in these trade disputes,” Herring says. “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."

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