U.S. hog producers cheer easing of tariff fight with Mexico

Pork producers celebrated the news that Mexico will lift its retaliatory tariffs against U.S. agricultural products. Mexico is America's leading pork importer, and pork prices have fallen since the tariffs were imposed in June. Photo by Jessie Higgins/UPI

EVANSVILLE, Ind., May 17 (UPI) — Shortly after President Donald Trump lifted the metal tariffs against neighbors to the north and south, Mexico announced it will eliminate all its tariffs imposed “in retaliation for the measures taken” by the United States.”

Those tariffs mainly targeted agricultural products, include pork, potatoes, apples and cheese.

Mexico began imposing the tariffs in June, after Trump set U.S. tariffs on imported steel and aluminum a month earlier.

American farmers cheered the news, especially hog producers who have seen the price for their pork fall below cost of production since the tariffs were imposed.

Mexico had been the largest importer of U.S. pork before the tariffs. But after the country placed a 20 percent tariff on pork, trade between the two nations dropped dramatically, forcing American prices down.

At roughly the same time, China, another leading U.S. pork importer, also placed high retaliatory tariffs on pork, driving prices down even further.

“We thank the administration for ending a trade dispute that has placed enormous financial strain on American pork producers,” David Herring, president of the National Pork Producers Council, said in a statement. Herring is a pork producer in North Carolina.

The tariffs were responsible for a nearly 9 percent drop in the value of hogs being sold off the farm last year. They had cost U.S. hog producers some $1.5 billion, according to the pork council.

“Removing the metal tariffs restores zero-tariff trade to U.S. pork’s largest export market,” Herring said. And it “allows NPPC to focus more resources on working toward ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which preserves zero-tariff trade for U.S. pork in North America.”


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