Pork Producers Say “Enough Is Enough” on Trade Disputes

The US Department of Agriculture projects exports of US agricultural goods in FY 2018 will reach $139.5 Billion; Imports at $118.5 Billion
( MGN/Pixnio )

U.S. pork producers have borne the brunt of the trade disputes with China and Mexico, and Nick Giordano, vice president and counsel, global government affairs for the National Pork Producers Council is basically saying ‘enough is enough.’

Giordano spoke last week at a Global Business Dialogue event: What’s in a Name? The Tariffs, National Security, and the WTO. He served on a panel with trade experts and leaders, and explained to them the present situation for pork producers.

“Exports add significantly to the bottom line of each and every producer – all 60,000 of them, regardless of their size, regardless of where they’re located,” Giordano told attendees at the event. “Twenty-seven percent of production was exported last year, which added $53 to every pig marketed.

“Because pork is an export juggernaut, it’s an attractive candidate for trade retaliation,” he told the group. Last year, Mexico was the largest market by volume and the second largest by value, and China was the No. 2 market in volume and the third largest market by value.

Counting on Continued Growth
What makes the trade disputes even more troublesome is that U.S. producers were counting on these markets – and others – in terms of their future growth.

“The U.S. pork industry is in the middle of an export-driven expansion, with production projected to grow by about 5% by the end of 2018,” Giordano said. “As the world most competitive producer of pork, the U.S. pork industry was anticipating increases and access to Japan, Vietnam and others through the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership, and was counting on shipping more pork through prior U.S. trade agreements.

“Obviously, things have changed,” Giordano said.

The situation hasn’t gone unnoticed. Gregg Doud, lead agriculture negotiator with the U.S. Trade Ambassador’s Office, talked with producers at World Pork Expo in June, and also visited with AgDay TV’s Betsy Jibben in this article.

“Gregg Doud told producers the lead tip of the spear in all of this right now is your pork, and boy, did he get that right,” Giordano said.

Significant Losses
“According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, hog futures have dropped by $18 per animal, amounting to a $2.2 billion loss on an annualized basis, since March 1 when speculation began about U.S. pork access to the Chinese market,” NPPC said in its Capital Report. “Last year, the U.S. pork industry shipped more than half of its $6.5 billion in exports to Canada ($792 million), China ($1.1 billion) and Mexico ($1.5 billion).”

Giordano urged the Trump administration to provide producers some relief as soon as possible. He stressed that point in this AgDay interview with Jibben as well.

Last week, six members of the Iowa congressional delegation asked President Trump to quickly resolve the trade disputes with China and Mexico, NPPC reported in its newsletter. “They pointed out that farmers are experiencing a five-year, 52 percent downturn in the agricultural economy,” the Report said.