United States farmers are firmly pushing President Donald Trump to avoid a trade war with Mexico in an effort to evade retaliatory tariffs.
The exports that could be hit hardest are pork and cheese, according to Reuters, among other items on a tariff list Mexico created that could total over $3 billion in U.S. exports.
Mexico has warned President Trump that they will block U.S. imports if he puts barriers on Mexican goods. The country used a specific tariff list they created six years ago during a trucking dispute as a model, according to Reuters.
Pork producers have been lobbying since the election, expressing their concerns to the Trump administration.
“We just keep pounding them on how critical trade is to us,” said John Weber, president of the National Pork Producers Council.
If Mexico does, in fact, put a tariff on pork imports, data compiled by IHS Markit’s Global Trade Atlas indicates it would apply to over $800 million of annual pork exports.
“We’ll be the first to take the hit,” Weber said.
Although many farmers voted for Trump in the election because they supported his business-friendly take on the economy, they are now concerned about trade. Reuters reports Mexico has been evaluating and targeting U.S. states, like Iowa and Wisconsin, that depend on it most.
Jamie Schmidt, a hog farmer in Iowa, told Reuters he gets half of his income from hogs and said “it would be devastating” for his business if wholesale prices inflated due to Mexican tariffs.
According to Reuters, the United States went from a trade surplus with Mexico in the early 1990s to a $63 billion deficit in 2016, which is why Trump has threatened to leave the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico if better terms cannot be negotiated.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said a possible 20 percent tax on Mexican imports could also pay for Trump’s proposed border wall.
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