Foreign Policy Digital

Donald Trump and Swine Fever Are Creating an Economic Crisis

A deadly outbreak in China and trade tariffs in the United States are threatening to send global markets into a tailspin.

As trade tensions between the Trump administration and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s negotiating team escalate, with U.S. President Donald Trump threatening to impose drastic new tariffs starting on Friday, the negative fallout for farmers—from soybean growers in Iowa to hog farmers in Shandong—is potentially very high. But it’s all made worse by an obscure African virus that is threatening to transform the trade woes into a snowballing catastrophe affecting everything from the food on your family’s plates next week, to the stability of global financial markets and agricultural industries, to the health of dialysis patients around the world.

Last summer a with a small, 400-pig operation in Shenyang, northeastern China, reported a disease was sweeping through his herd, with lethal outcome. By the time government investigators reached the scene, the disease had already spread to neighboring farms, swiftly killing over 10 percent of the swine. On Aug. 3, 2018, Zhang Zhongqui, the director general of the China Animal Disease Control Center, that had, for the first time in history, broken out in China, where more than half of of it annually—and much of it is produced.

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