Donald Trump
WASHINGTON- President Donald Trump announced tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from the European Union, Canada and Mexico on May 31.

The Mexican government responded quickly with its own tariffs on US products including pork bellies, apples, cranberries, grapes, certain cheeses and several types of steel.

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) released a statement expressing its concern about how the backlash could affect US agriculture, especially pork exports. In 2017, the US pork industry exported $1.5 billion of product to Mexico, its largest export market.

“(Thursday’s) decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum from Mexico and Canada, critical export markets, significantly heightens our concern as Mexico is already threatening to retaliate against US pork,” NPPC said. “Global export market uncertainty has resulted in considerable lost value for US pork producers.”

NPPC also stated that exports accounted for more than $53 of the average $149 value of a hog last year and supported over 110,000 US jobs.

“We call for an end to these trade disputes so that hard-working US pig farmers can do what they do best: meet global demand for one of our nation’s most competitive export products, one that favorably impacts US trade imbalances with countries around the world,” NPPC said.

The US Meat Export Federation expressed (USMEF) its dissatisfaction with the situation as well.

“It will be very unfortunate if US pork exports to Mexico, which deliver tremendous benefits to both the US supply chain and to Mexican consumers, importers, processors, retailers and restaurants, no longer enjoy duty-free access to this critical market,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “It is especially frustrating to see US pork caught up in a dispute that has nothing whatsoever to do with pork trade. If these tariffs are implemented, they will negatively impact millions of consumers and thousands of people in the meat and livestock industries on both sides of the border.”

After President Trump’s announcement, the European Union stated that it would impose duties of 25 percent and 10 percent respectively on imports of steel and aluminum. The EU also said it would be filing a dispute resolution case through the World Trade Organization.

“The EU believes these unilateral US tariffs are unjustified and at odds with World Trade Organization rules. This is protectionism, pure and simple,” said Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission. “Over the past months we have continuously engaged with the US at all possible levels to jointly address the problem of overcapacity in the steel sector. Overcapacity remains at the heart of the problem and the EU is not the source of but on the contrary equally hurt by it."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said his country will “impose tariffs against imports of steel, aluminum, and other products from the US – we are imposing dollar for dollar tariffs for every dollar levied against Canadians by the US.”