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U.S. Imposing Tariffs on Steel, Aluminum and Other Products

USMEF received a number of requests for comment on President Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, as well as other trade policy positions of the administration. While we provided background information and re-emphasized the importance of red meat exports, USMEF does not speculate on retaliatory measures that may or may not be taken by trading partners. If you receive such a request from media, please contact Joe Schuele at jschuele@usmef.org or 303-547-0030.

UPDATE: On March 23, in response to the Chinese government’s announcement that it is placing pork on a list of U.S. products that could be subject to increased import duties, USMEF issued the following media statement:

UPDATE: On April 2, in response to the Chinese government’s announcement that it is placing an additional 25 percent retaliatory duty on imports of U.S. pork in response to U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs, USMEF issued the following media statement:

Statement from U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom:

We regret the Chinese government’s decision to impose an additional 25 percent duty on imports of U.S. pork and pork variety meat. The United States is a reliable supplier of pork products to China, and this decision will have an immediate impact on U.S. producers and exporters, as well as our customers in China. We are hopeful that the additional duties can be rescinded quickly, so that U.S. pork can again compete on a level playing field with pork from other exporting countries. Exports have been a key driver of growth in the U.S. pork industry, and with nearly 27 percent of U.S. pork production exported last year, international trade is critical to the continued success and profitability of the U.S. industry. China is a leading destination for U.S. pork and especially for pork variety meat. In 2017, U.S. exported 495,637 metric tons (mt) of pork and pork variety meat to China/Hong Kong, valued at $1.08 billion – our second-largest international market by volume and third-largest by value. For pork variety meat exports only, this was our largest destination in both volume (321,116 mt) and value ($741.8 million), accounting for 63 percent of U.S. export value. Variety meat exports make a critical contribution to industry profitability, and last year these exports to China/Hong Kong alone equated to more than $6.00 per U.S. hog slaughtered. With U.S. exporters facing tariff and non-tariff barriers in China and other key markets, it is especially important to expand and diversify our export destinations for U.S. red meat. USMEF is working constantly to identify new and emerging markets in regions such as Central and South America, Southeast Asia and Africa, and to expand our customer base in mainstay markets such as Mexico, Japan, South Korea and Canada.

UPDATE: On April 4, in response to the Chinese government announcing a proposal to levy retaliatory tariffs of 25 percent on China’s imports of agricultural and food products from the United States, including U.S. beef, USMEF issued the following media statement:

Statement from U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom:

China is a promising market for U.S. beef, and, since the June 2017 reopening, the U.S. industry has made an exceptional effort to provide customers with high-quality beef at an affordable price. This is not an easy task, due to our 13-year absence from the market and China’s beef import requirements.

Over the past nine months, interest in U.S. beef has steadily gained momentum in China and our customer base has grown. But if an additional import tariff is imposed on U.S. beef, these constructive business relationships, and opportunities for further growth, will be put at risk. USMEF is hopeful that this trade dispute can be resolved without China introducing additional obstacles for U.S. beef.

In the second half of 2017, following the market reopening, U.S. beef exports to China totaled 3,020 metric tons valued at $31 million. In January 2018, exports reached the highest monthly volume to date at 819 metric tons, valued at $7.5 million.


Please note: China’s proposed tariff on U.S. beef is not in response to the U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum. Rather, it is in response to a recent U.S. proposal to impose tariffs on imports from China as a result of an investigation into the forced transfer of U.S. technology and intellectual property. Unlike pork, China has not yet imposed an additional tariff on U.S. beef.

UPDATE: On May 24, the Commerce Department initiated an investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act to determine whether U.S. imports of automobiles and automotive parts threaten to impair national security. It remains to be seen whether this investigation impacts trade of other goods, but the announcement drew a strong reaction from several trading partners.