Pork producers hope an Iowa State University analysis saying U.S. pork exports to China could reduce the overall trade deficit with the country by 6% will lead to an easing of tariffs between the two countries. 

A new analysis rolled out Tuesday by the National Pork Producers Council suggests securing zero-tariff access to the China’s chilled and frozen market would reduce the overall trade deficit and generate $24.5 billion for the U.S. pork industry over the next decade. But tariffs stand in the way.

"Were it not for China's tariffs that are severely limiting access to American goods and other restrictions ... U.S. pork could be an economic powerhouse, creating thousands of new jobs, expanding sales and dramatically slashing our nation's trade deficit,” Iowa State University (ISU) Economist Dermot Hayes said.

Over half of the country’s pig population has died from African Swine Fever, a deadly pig disease. Nick Giordano, vice president and counsel of global governmental affairs at the National Pork Producers Council, said ASF has created a tremendous opportunity for the U.S. pork industry to potentially fill China’s domestic production gap if tariffs were removed.

Giordano argues pork tariffs differ distinctly from any other product in the tariff discussion.

“(Pork) is a staple in the Chinese diet,” Giordano told Agri-Pulse. “It’s disproportionately significant in the consumer price index in China, and they are the biggest producer of pork in the world and biggest consumer and 50% of their production is knocked out.”

Currently, there is a 60% punitive tariff on pork going into China on top of an additional 12% tariff, bringing total duties to 72%. Giordano noted the higher the tariff, the harder it is for the pork industry to sell their product.

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