CHILE initiated a safeguard investigation in May on all imported frozen pork, including imports from the U.S.
Randy Spronk, president of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), said the charges of price distortion are "unfounded," and NPPC is working with its outside U.S. trade counsel and also hired local counsel in Chile to represent the interests of the U.S. pork industry to "vigorously defend" pork exports to the growing market.
Under international trade rules, safeguard measures are temporary emergency actions — such as duty increases — taken against imported products that have caused or threaten to cause serious injury to the importing country's domestic industry.
The Chilean Pork Producers Assn. alleged that imports have resulted in losses to its industry and requested an additional duty of 14.3% on all imports. A commission will conduct a 90-day investigation to determine whether safeguard measures should be imposed and, if so, at what rate.
All interested parties have an opportunity to present written evidence and arguments and to appear at a hearing on the investigation.
U.S. pork exports are not injuring the Chilean pork industry, according to NPPC. While U.S. exports have grown, they remain small and stable both in relation to pork consumption and pork production in Chile. In fact, more than 95% of domestic consumption comes from Chilean pork producers, who have also significantly increased their sales in export markets.
Nick Giordano, NPPC vice president and counsel, international affairs, added that to impose safeguard duties, a nation must show significantly higher material injury to the domestic industry compared to antidumping or countervailing dumping cases.
"We are confident that if we get a fair shake in Chile, we will exonerate ourselves," Giordano added.
The U.S. exports pork to more than 100 countries each year, and Chile is not a top-tier market. However, it is a smaller but important and growing market, Giordano said.
"It can and will impact prices" if Chile moves forward with safeguard measures, he said, but he noted that NPPC doesn't believe the allegations warrant the duties.