America’s Cattlemen and Women are “Unfortunate Causalities” in Any Trade War
WASHINGTON (April 4, 2018) – Kent Bacus, Director of International Trade and Market Access for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, today issued the following statement regarding the announcement that China has included American-produced beef on a list of proposed retaliatory tariffs:
“It is unsettling to see American-produced beef listed as a target for retaliation. Sadly, we are not surprised, as this is an inevitable outcome of any trade war. This is a battle between two governments, and the unfortunate casualties will be America’s cattlemen and women and our consumers in China. The Trump Administration has until the end of May to resolve this issue. We believe in trade enforcement, but endless retaliation is not a good path forward for either side.”
Earlier, China announced retaliatory tariffs on 128 U.S. products, including pork. This was in response to President Trump’s tariffs on aluminum and steel. Then, on April 4, the Chinese government announced a proposal to levy retaliatory tariffs of 25% on China’s imports of agricultural and food products from the United States, including U.S. beef.
Here we go again. U.S. beef finally gained access to China after a 13-year absence, and now that promising market may be restricted once again. According to U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom, “China is a promising market for U.S. beef, and, since the June 2017 reopening, the U.S. industry has made an exceptional effort to provide customers with high-quality beef at an affordable price. This is not an easy task, due to our 13-year absence from the market and China’s beef import requirements.”
Over the past nine months, interest in U.S. beef has steadily gained momentum in China and our customer base has grown, Halstrom says. “But if an additional import tariff is imposed on U.S. beef, these constructive business relationships, and opportunities for further growth, will be put at risk. USMEF is hopeful that this trade dispute can be resolved without China introducing additional tariffs”.
In the second half of 2017, following the market reopening, U.S. beef exports to China totaled 3,020 metric tons, valued at $31 million. In January 2018, exports reached the highest monthly volume to date at 819 metric tons, valued at $7.5 million, according to USMEF.
We stand behind our President. Maybe it’s time to rethink importing beef and other goods. Americans produce the best beef on earth. It’s time to make our cattle industry great again!