Producers Welcome Help But Want End To Trade Disputes

August 27, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C., Aug. 27, 2018 – The National Pork Producers Council commended the Trump administration for providing assistance to America’s farmers suffering from the ongoing trade disputes with China, Mexico and other nations.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced details of a $12 billion aid package for U.S. agriculture, including a nearly $559 million purchase of pork for federal nutrition assistance and child nutrition programs, $200 million for developing foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products and some direct payments to farmers, including pork producers. They would receive $8 per hog based on 50 percent of the number of animals they owned on Aug. 1.

“True to his word that he would have our backs, President Trump today demonstrated his commitment to America’s farmers, including pork producers, by giving us some relief from the financial hit we’ve taken from retaliatory tariffs from some of our biggest trading partners,” said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a hog farmer from Johnstown, Ohio.

U.S. pork exports to China are down significantly for the year, with the value falling by 9 percent through June. The drop has come mostly because of the 50 percent additional tariff that country imposed in response to U.S. duties on Chinese steel and aluminum imports and on other goods over China’s theft of intellectual property and its forced transfers of U.S. technology. Exports to Mexico are down slightly. In June, it put a 10 percent tariff on U.S. pork in response to U.S. tariffs on Mexican steel and aluminum imports; the duty increased to 20 percent on July 5.

“While we’re grateful and commend the administration for its action to help us,” Heimerl said, “what pork producers really want is to export more pork, and that means ending these trade disputes soon.”

In addition to continuing to press for a swift resolution to the trade wars, NPPC is asking the White House and congressional lawmakers to approve public-policy initiatives that would buoy pork producers, including ones that would:

  • Establish and fully fund a Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccine bank.
  • Prohibit states from regulating agricultural production practices outside their borders.
  • Reform the visa system to address an agricultural labor shortage.
  • Give USDA oversight of lab-produced cultured protein and gene editing in livestock.

NPPC also is urging the administration to quickly conclude talks on a new trade agreement with Mexico, reiterating its priorities of maintaining the zero-tariff rate on pork traded with that country and of lifting the tariffs on steel and aluminum from Mexico so it will drop its retaliatory tariffs on U.S. pork and other products. (The United States and Mexico today announced agreement on a framework for a new trade deal.)

“Pork producers and others in agriculture have been patriots and very patient as the administration rightfully realigns trade policy to make sure our trading partners play by the rules, to ensure that there’s free, fair and reciprocal trade,” said Heimerl.

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NPPC is the global voice for the U.S. pork industry, protecting the livelihoods of America’s 60,000 pork producers, who abide by ethical principles in caring for their animals, in protecting the environment and public health and in providing safe, wholesome, nutritious pork products to consumers worldwide. For more information, visit www.nppc.org.