US pork producers prepare for steep tariffs: ‘I don’t want to be the patriot who dies at the end of the war’

U.S. pig farmers are bracing for another round of steep tariffs this week from China and Mexico following President Trump’s decision to impose hefty tariffs on the two countries.

According to CNBC, some major U.S. pork producers fear they will lose a significant amount of money once China and Mexico implement the tariffs, forcing some to move their investments overseas.

{mosads}China is expected to begin requiring a 25 percent tariff on U.S. pork imports on Friday. Mexico, which imposed a 10 percent tariff on pork imports last month, is expected to double its import tax to 20 percent on Thursday. CNBC reported that China’s taxes will exceed 70 percent when combined with previous import taxes.

“We put a halt on all investment, not just because we will be losing money, but because we don’t know if growing in the U.S. is the right move if we won’t be an exporting country,” Ken Maschhoff, chairman of Maschhoff Family Foods and co-owner of the nation’s biggest family-owned pork producer, told CNBC.

Maschhoff told the outlet that the farm industry has been “asked to be good patriots.”

“We have been. But I don’t want to be the patriot who dies at the end of the war,” he continued. “If we go out of business, it’s tough to look at my kids and the 550 farm families that look us into the eye and our 1,400 employees.”

The tariffs come in response to Trump’s decision in May to slap steep duties on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union. The action prompted a wave of retaliatory tariffs from the countries, sparking concern of a looming trade war.

Meanwhile, China on Tuesday said it is “fully prepared” for a trade war with the U.S., marking the latest escalation in trade tensions between the two countries.

The U.S. will hit China with $34 billion worth of tariffs on goods Friday, the same day China will start collecting a 25 percent duty on U.S. soybeans.

Last month, the Des Moines Register reported that the threat of retaliatory tariffs from Mexico has cost Iowa pork producers around $560 million.

Mexico, which represents the largest export market for American pork by volume, stands to put further strain on U.S. pork producers — particularly in Iowa, which is the country’s largest producer.

“We want to compete and be able to sell abroad and make sure our government knocks down trade barriers,” Maschhoff told CNBC. “All we’ve accomplished is getting more trade barriers. We are the casualty and predicted it from day one.”

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