Washington, DC – Today, Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI), Darin LaHood (R-IL), Jim Costa (D-CA), and Dusty Johnson (R-SD) led over 70 Members of Congress in a letter urging United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai to press Vietnam to eliminate tariffs on U.S. pork, improving market access for domestic pork producers.
Due to trade retaliation from top United States export destinations and supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many U.S. pork producers are struggling to stay afloat. Vietnam presents a tremendous opportunity for domestic pork exporters, which was demonstrated last year when the country temporarily reduced tariff rates for frozen pork products. Although the temporary reduction expired at the end of 2020, U.S. pork exports doubled in the second half of 2020 compared to the first half of the year. The surge in U.S. exports during the tariff reprieve coupled with Vietnam’s growing population and preference for high-quality pork shows that the United States is barely scratching the surface of its export potential to Vietnam.
Further, African swine fever has decimated hog herds in Vietnam, increasing the demand for imported pork. However, significant tariff and non-tariff barriers unfortunately prevent U.S. pork from competing in the country, even as it seeks reliable sources of non-domestic pork.
“Wisconsin pork producers have been hit hard by both trade retaliation and the global pandemic, causing them to struggle through no fault of their own,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “If our pork producers are given the opportunity to compete on a level playing field in this critical market, they’ll succeed. I look forward to working alongside the administration to reach that goal.”
“We thank Rep. Kind and the more than 70 other lawmakers for their support of one of our top trade priorities and recognizing the tremendous market opportunity that Vietnam represents to U.S. pork producers,” said Howard “AV” Roth, a hog farmer from Wauzeka, Wis., and immediate past president of the National Pork Producers Council. “Unfortunately, the United States faces several unwarranted tariff and non-tariff barriers that prevent us from supplying this major pork-consuming nation – one dealing with African swine fever in its domestic herd – with affordable, high-quality pork. We look forward to working to ensure U.S. pork producers have a level playing field to compete in this critical market.”
“Pork producers are vital to Illinois’ economy and they need free and fair trade to remain competitive in the global economy,” said Rep. Darin LaHood. “Vietnam presents a tremendous opportunity for U.S. pork exporters. I am pleased to join my colleagues to urge the Biden Administration to engage with Vietnam to strengthen our trade relationship.”
Rep. Kind serves on the Subcommittee on Trade for the Ways and Means Committee, the most powerful – and the oldest – committee in the House of Representatives. It has jurisdiction over tax measures, the management of public debt, trade and tariff laws, Social Security, Medicare, pensions, and many other economic growth measures.
Read the bipartisan letter here.