US producers fret over China, swine fever



September 18, 2019 - 10:22 AM

Trade tensions between the U.S. and China should be filtering down to pork producers, but another development is easing the blow while injecting uncertainty into the industry.

China slapped tariffs of 50 percent on American pig products, curtailing U.S. access to the world’s largest market for pork consumption. But wholesale pork prices continue to rise — they’re up 60 percent this year — because an outbreak of African swine fever is decimating China’s own swine population and forcing the company to lean heavily on imports.

By some estimates, China’s total meat imports increased 90 percent in July, compared to the same period last year. Even if those imports come from countries other than the United States, our domestic producers feel the impact as China’s appetite for pork drives up prices worldwide.

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