US-China trade war could benefit EU pig sector

The EU pig sector could benefit from the US-China trade war, according to AHDB Pork.

China announced retaliatory tariffs on various products from the US, including pork, this week, in response to Donald Trump’s decision in March to introduce higher tariffs for imported US steel and aluminium.

China will impose an additional import tariff of 25% on all pork products from the US, although no implementation date has been set.

In 2017, China imported 1.2 million tonnes of pig meat, with around 65% of this coming from the EU, and 14% from the US, according to data from China Customs. The US is the third largest exporter of pig meat to China.

From a US point of view, China is the fifth largest destination of pig meat exports receiving 7.5% (185,000 tonnes product weight) of all US fresh/frozen pork exports in 2017, equivalent to about 1.5% of the 11.7 million tonnes (carcase weight) of US production.

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AHDB Pork analysts Rebecca Oborne said: “In 2017, China produced 53.5 million tonnes of pig meat and consumed 55 million tonnes, according to the USDA. With that underlying demand, China may therefore need to source at least some replacement product from the global market, including the EU.”

The additional tariffs initially applied to 128 products but the list has since been expanded to include an additional 106 products. The additional products include soybeans and some other agricultural goods. China imports nearly all of its soybean requirements, with a significant proportion coming from the US.

Image: Georgina Crayford 

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.