LOS ANGELES, April 3 (Xinhua) -- Utah Agriculture and Food Commissioner, LuAnn Adams, who is in charge of the U.S. state's agriculture industry, issued a statement on Monday, calling for resolving trade dispute between the United States and China quickly.
"I am concerned with the impact these tariffs will have on Utah's agriculture and food industry. I am especially troubled by 15 percent tariff increase on fresh fruits and dried fruits and the 25 percent tariff increase on pork products," Adams said in the statement.
China Monday suspended tariff concessions on 128 items of U.S. products, which will see a tariff of 15 to 25 percent since then, in retaliation for the Trump administration's decision to impose similar tariffs on aluminum and steel from China.
She stressed that China market is important to Utah's pork and fruit, citing the Beehive State exported close to 20 million U.S. dollars' worth of pork to China in 2017 and an average of 300,000 U.S dollars' worth of fruit every year.
"U.S. farm income across all commodities has fallen by about 50 percent over the past four years. These tariffs will decrease our exports to China and will increase the supply of fruit and pork domestically, further driving down prices and potentially putting our farmers and ranchers out of business. For the benefit of Utah agriculture, I hope this trade dispute is resolved quickly." the statement read.
A report of the National Public Radio Tuesday said China buys a lot of American pork. While Iowa may be this country's pig-producing colossus, the trade dispute would hit producers everywhere, including states in the Mountain West like Utah and Colorado.
Agriculture experts predicted that tariffs could not only drive down the price of pork, but also could drive down the price of the corn and wheat that feeds those pigs, which could in turn hurt farmers.
According to www.porkbusiness.com, China is the second-largest international market by volume and the third largest by value for U.S. pork. Total 495,637 metric tons (mt) of pork and pork variety meat valued at 1.08 billion U.S. dollars were shipped to China last year.
"The United States is a reliable supplier of pork products to China, and this decision will have an immediate impact on U.S. producers and exporters, as well as our customers in China," Dan Halstrom, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO, said in a news release on Monday.
"We are hopeful that the additional duties can be rescinded quickly, so that U.S. pork can again compete on a level playing field with pork from other exporting countries." the statement said.