Ir­ish farm­ers ready to step in if China turns its back on US pork

Irish Examiner - Farming - - FARMMARKETS - Stephen Cado­gan

After an­other week of static pig prices, with pro­ces­sors quot­ing from €1.38 to €1.42/kg, Ir­ish pig farm­ers are con­sol­ing them­selves with hopes that China im­pos­ing tar­iffs on pork from the US will help Euro­pean pig­ment ex­porters, in­clud­ing Ire­land.

This could lift Chi­nese de­mand, im­por­tant for Ir­ish pig­meat prod­ucts in the past four years, par­tic­u­larly lower value cuts and of­fal, but slug­gish in the first quar­ter of 2018. Ad­di­tional Chi­nese tar­iffs of 25% on US pork be­came ef­fec­tive last Mon­day, in a move ap­par­ently de­signed to hurt pig farm­ers in Trump-friendly states, thus ex­act­ing a po­lit­i­cal cost on the US leader, in re­tal­i­a­tion for his new tar­iffs on Chi­nese steel and alu­minum.

The US pork in­dus­try sold $1.1 bil­lion worth of prod­ucts to China last year, mak­ing it their third largest ex­port mar­ket.

If the pork ex­port flow from the US to China is in­ter­rupted, the gap in sup­ply is likely to be filled by EU coun­tries and Brazil, Canada, Mex­ico, and Chile.

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