markets

Pork Twist: China Import Tariffs Hit Chinese Owner of Smithfield

China Hits Back At Trump With Planned Tariffs

Chinese tariffs on imported U.S. pork have so far hit only one producer very hard -- a Chinese company.

Shares of U.S. pork suppliers Tyson Foods Inc. and Hormel Foods Corp. were little changed Friday after China announced the tariffs, but WH Group Ltd. plunged. Hong Kong-based WH is suffering the most because its U.S. arm, Smithfield, is the world’s largest pork producer. WH acquired the company for $4.73 billion in 2013.

U.S. pork shipments to China totaled $1.1 billion last year, according to the National Pork Producers Council. While an exact breakdown by supplier wasn’t immediately available, it’s likely that most of that meat was from Smithfield. The U.S. producer sent 280,000 metric tons of pork to China in 2016, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Thomas Jastrzab.

A representative for Smithfield declined to comment on the tariffs.

— With assistance by Megan Durisin

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