China and the US - background to the trade dispute
In March, the US announced the introduction of higher tariffs for imported steel and aluminium, and this week China responded, announcing retaliatory tariffs on products from the US, including pork.
China will impose an additional import tariff of 25% on all pork products from the US, although no implementation date has been set. 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.
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.
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.
Rebecca Oborne, Analyst
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