Bewilderment, sadness and outrage: mood of US farmers in trade war

World Pork Expo happening as trade war escalates

There’s a fraught mood hanging over the World Pork Expo, at least if the leaders of the U.S. National Pork Producers Council are any sign.

They just finished a press conference with a room full of reporters and I’d sum up the feelings about the U.S.-launched trade war, and the resulting Mexican and Chinese retaliation against pork, as bewilderment, sadness and outrage. Pork was the first victim of the war, immediately hit by America’s infuriated trading partners, who believe causing upset in farm country will put pressure on President Donald Trump.

The hog farmer leaders seem bewildered by what has happened to them. They were, as one just described, the “poster child” for trade expansion, going from a net-importing sector in 1997 to a major exporter now. One trade deal after another led to bigger and bigger U.S. pork exports, which now make up 27 percent of U.S. production. TPP seemed to offer even greater prospects, as well as China opening up.

Now TPP (for the US)  is dead, the U.S. is in a trade war with China, and Mexico – a NAFTA partner – is hitting back at U.S. pork imports.

Here are some quotes from NPPC leaders this morning:

“It’s very painful for us . . . Producers are hurting.” Nick Giordano, NPPC trade expert

“We are bleeding . . . We need to get this fixed now . . . We’re starting to take on water fast . . . We need this trade dispute to end now.” Jim Heimerl, NPPC President.

 

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