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Pork industry fights for small export markets

Source: Wikimedia Commons

United States agriculture is pressing hard for new markets amid a string of trade disappointments, including trade war worries over tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

The U.S. pork industry recently won an export certificate to ship pork to Paraguay: a small, but symbolically important market. The new market underlies a broader bid by American agriculture to find new openings for trade amid recent setbacks. Trade setbacks include: the United States’ withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and most recently, tariffs on imported metals.

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Dave Warner, of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), argues – the United States must abide by the same, fair trade practices it insists on from other countries. Otherwise, “inevitably, it will leave the other country to retaliate. A lot of times, the products that are most sensitive and retaliated against, tend to be agriculture products.”

The Trump Administration’s new metals tariffs and the signing of a new TPP deal are big concerns for U.S. pork and other ag sectors.

“Given the current trade climate – we didn’t get into TPP and we aren’t negotiating any new, free trade agreements – it’s important that we at least get some pork into those markets,” Warner said.

Warner says U.S. pork is close to winning a trade certificate to re-enter the long-estranged Argentine market. However, Warner states TPP-11 or a bilateral trade agreement with Japan, would be much more valuable.

In the meantime, more trade battles lie ahead. The White House turns its attention to China’s alleged theft of U.S. intellectual property, put at some 600-billion a year, many times that of subsidized Chinese steel to the U.S.