Beef in Cross-hairs of Proposed China Trade Retaliation

Beef producers in Minnesota, and across the U.S., have been caught in the crosshairs of a continuing trade war with China.  On Wednesday, April 4th, the White House announced a list of $50 billion in Chinese goods that will be targeted for retaliatory tariffs as a result of an Investigation into economic damage to U.S. intellectual property. In response, China’s Ministry of Commerce released a list of $50 billion in U.S. goods that will be targeted for retaliatory tariffs. Unfortunately, beef is included on that list. These new proposed tariffs are in addition to the tariffs China announced in response to U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs that went into effect on April 2nd, which also included pork.

“The Chinese export market for U.S. beef has been steadily increasing since our beef was allowed back into China in 2017." said Krist Wollum, MSCA President. “The current tariff into China is 12%. If these tariffs do go into effect in May, it would add an additional 25% to that tariff.”

The announced proposal from the Chinese government would increase tariffs on U.S. soybeans, corn and beef by 25% on May 15th. According to the US Meat Export Federation, US beef exports to China reached 3,020 metric tons with a value of $31 million in 2017. In January 2018, exports reached a monthly volume of 819 metric tons, valued at $7.5 million.

“This additional tariff threat has the potential to slow the rapid growth we’re seeing in the Chinese market and will ultimately hurt our cattle and beef producers in Minnesota.” – Krist Wollum, MSCA President

Beef items targeted by the Chinese government include: whole and half head fresh and cold beef, fresh and cold beef with bones, fresh and cold boneless beef, frozen beef with bones, frozen boneless beef, and frozen boneless meat. Minnesota is home to over 18,000 cattle and beef producers and is 7th in the nation for cattle on feed. Cattlemen in Minnesota have unique advantage to cattle feeders in other states as they are also grain farms. As beef and grain farmers - tariffs on ethanol, corn, and soybeans are doubling concerning for MSCA members given the current agricultural economy.

“It’s unfortunate, but not surprising that China chose to retaliate against the U.S. through agricultural tariffs. Our members, who proudly feed people three times a day, should not be on the losing end of trade agreements. We are hopeful the Trump administration will resolve this issue before farmers are hurt anymore in an already troubled farm economy. ” – Ashley Kohls, MCSA Executive Director

Posted: April 4, 2018