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Don’t Panic About Pork Tariffs - Yet

Mexico is the largest buyer of U.S. pork, so pig farmers at the World Pork Expo this week in Des Moines are naturally dismayed at the tariffs announced by their neighbor yesterday.

Is the concern justified? Ag economist Steve Meyer says it is too soon to panic. 

“It’s not a disastrous thing,” says Meyer. “The quantity shipped there will go down eventually, but it won’t adjust quickly because they have to have product.”

Brazil, Chile, Canada, and the European Union (E.U.) are the four countries that can take our place, he says, and Brazil and Chile can’t supply fresh hams. “They may be able to get fresh product from the E.U., but it’s going to be way more expensive.”

The tariff will drive up the price of whatever products Mexico is making from our pork and that means the quantity they buy from us will eventually go down, he explains.

“That will take time,” says Meyer. The tariff is 10% now and 20% on July 5. “That is like saying, ‘If you don’t get your room cleaned up, it’s going to be worse tomorrow.’”

In short, he says, “I don’t know if this tariff will price us out of there, but it will have an impact.”

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