In a typical year, the majority of U.S. pork exports to China occur within the first seven months, with peak exports occurring in April through June. But as everyone is aware, 2018 has been anything but typical on the trade front. On April 2, U.S. pork, fruits, nuts, wine and ginseng found themselves on the receiving end of China’s irritation about recently imposed U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs.
The irritation came in the form of an additional 25 percent tariff on U.S. pork and an additional 10 percent tariff on the rest of the targeted agricultural products. While there have been ad hoc reports of declining sales and suspiciously thorough port inspections for the non-pork products on the list, complete data has been hard to come by.
But for U.S. pork, the significant impact these tariffs are having on U.S. export volumes is more apparent because of mandatory export reporting. The data is clear – U.S. pork exporters are squealing, but with dismay, not delight.