The following statement may be attributed to Jim Heimerl, president of the National Pork Producers Council from Johnstown, Ohio:
The National Pork Producers Council has consistently stated its concern about retaliation against U.S. agriculture, including pork, in response to tariffs placed by the United States on steel and aluminum imports. Today’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum from Mexico and Canada, critical export markets, significantly heightens our concern as Mexico is already threatening to retaliate against U.S. pork. U.S. pork shipped $1.5 billion of product to Mexico, its largest export market, and $792 million to Canada, its fourth-largest market, last year.
Global export market uncertainty has resulted in considerable lost value for U.S. pork producers. According to Iowa State University Economist Dermot Hayes, hog futures dropped $18 per animal, amounting to a $2.2 billion loss on an annualized basis, since March 1 when speculation about U.S. pork access to the critical Chinese market began.
The market disruption caused by export market uncertainty comes at a time when U.S. pork is expanding production to record levels. Five new pork processing plants have recently opened or will soon begin operations, increasing U.S. pork production capacity by approximately 10 percent from 2015 levels by next year. Exports accounted for more than $53 of the average $149 value of a hog last year and support over 110,000 U.S. jobs.
We call for an end to these trade disputes so that hard-working U.S. pig farmers can do what they do best: meet global demand for one of our nation’s most competitive export products, one that favorably impacts U.S. trade imbalances with countries around the world.
Original release May 31, NPPC