A move by China to increase tariffs on U-S pork products may hurt some Michigan farmers. The 25-percent increase on pork products comes in the wake of a decision by President Trump to raise tariffs on Chinese made steel and aluminum. Michigan Pork Producers Association CEO Mary Kelpinski says about a quarter of the pork sold by U-S producers is exported. That includes some of the 2.5 million pigs raised on 2000 farms across the state. Kelpinski says the pork industry isn’t the only business that could be hurt by increased tariffs.
“The pigs eat about 10% of the corn and 10% of the soybeans that’s produced in Michigan. And so there’s this big trickledown effect, it’s not just the pig farmers we’re talking about. It’s the people that work in all segments of the industry and all segments of agriculture ‘cause pigs are a large consumer of other agricultural products” -Mary Kelpinski, MPPA
Kelpinski says prior to the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA, the U-S was a net importer of pork but now she says the U-S is a net exporter of pork. She says if NAFTA is significantly renegotiated it could also hurt pig farmers who send about 40% of their exports to Mexico and Canada.
China also announced plans to increase tariffs on apples and cherries. But Michigan farmers say few of the state’s fruit crops are currently sold to the Chinese market.