Al Juhnke, executive director of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association, says China is a vital buyer of American pork and the Chinese tariffs will have a real impact.
“They are one of the major producers and purchasers of pork,” Juhnke says. “They are not able to produce enough pork to feed their population and the United States has had a great partnership with them in the last few years, getting them that product.”
President Trump signed an order placing $60 billion in tariffs on imported Chinese goods. China retaliated in two stages, first, slapping a 15% tariff on 120 products worth $977 million and later, a higher 25% tariff on $1.99 billion of pork and aluminum.
Juhnke says America’s pork producers are highly reliant on exports so any trade disruption directly impacts their bottom line.
“Nearly 30% of our pork production in the U.S. is exported,” Juhnke says. “That amounts to over $50 per pig and really is the difference between making a profit or not making a profit many years in our industry.”
Juhnke says the National Pork Producers Council will ask President Trump to change his stance and they’ll also be speaking to members of Congress about the trade implications.
“We have been sending letters not only to the administration but to our congressional delegations,” Juhnke says. “We have been working with Secretary Perdue, who I do think understands the issue and we’re hopeful he has a front row seat in the White House as these decisions are being made.”
The president says he’s imposing the tariffs due to China’s pattern of stealing intellectual property and robbing U.S. companies of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton