Coalition fears Chinese retaliation against U.S. food industry

by MEAT&POULTRY Staff
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WASHINGTON — An ad hoc coalition, which includes the National Pork Producers Council and 33 other food and agricultural organizations, is concerned about actions U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk might recommend be taken against China over tires imported into the U.S. The group fears China may, in turn, retaliate against U.S. agricultural products. Pork and soybeans, for example, have been mentioned as candidates for retaliation, according to the N.P.P.C.

The issue of concern is the United Steelworkers recently filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission claiming a surge of Chinese tire imports had cost the union thousands of jobs. The I.T.C. recommended a "safeguard action" of a 55% tariff on Chinese tires.

In response, the coalition sent a letter to Mr. Kirk on Sept. 3 urging him to consider the consequences of a decision President Obama is expected to make by Sept. 17 on the findings of an I.T.C. investigation of imports of certain car tires from China. If the president accepts the I.T.C. recommendation, the food and agricultural coalition is concerned China will retaliate against U.S. products.

"We ask that you consider the effect of likely retaliatory action against U.S. food and agriculture products as you formulate your recommendations," the coalition said in its letter. "Retaliatory actions by China against U.S. food and agricultural products … would significantly affect U.S. farmers, ranchers and food companies at a time when many are facing serious financial problems."

Other industry coalition members are the American Meat Institute, Hormel Foods Corporation, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Meat Association, National Turkey Federation, Tyson Foods, Inc., U.S. Meat Export Federation, U.S. Hides, Skins & Leather Association and USA Poultry & Egg Export Council.

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