Similarly, the pork industry is seen as vulnerable since it relies heavily on exports to China. One in four hogs in the U.S. is exported overseas and the Chinese are the world's top consumers of pork.
"We sell a lot of pork to China, so higher tariffs on our exports going there will harm our producers and undermine the rural economy," Jim Heimerl, an Ohio pork producer and president of the National Pork Producers Council said in a statement. "No one wins in these tit-for-tat trade disputes, least of all the farmers and the consumers."
Last year, China was the second-largest volume market for American pork industry after Mexico. At about $1.1 billion, China and Hong Kong together are the third-largest market for pork based on value.
The U.S. pork industry has expanded in recent years due to increasing demand for the product, led by growing demand overseas.
One of the industry standouts in the pork industry is Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pork producer and a wholly-owned subsidiary of China's WH Group. The company acquired Virginia-based Smithfield Foods back in 2013.
UBS analyst Christine Peng said in a report Friday that China's WH Group is exposed to the tariff risk because it could increase the company's "earnings volatility if China/U.S. hog price disparity increases." Furthermore, the analyst sees a risk of higher soybean prices since soy is used as a livestock feed for the company's pigs and chickens.
At the same time, there's also export exposure for other U.S. livestock producers, including Hormel and Tyson.
"Tyson and Hormel have enjoyed several years of strong commodity margins in pork based on tight domestic processing capacity and strong commodity prices," Credit Suisse analyst Robert Moskow said Friday in a note. "They need export markets to remain strong in order for commodity pork prices to remain high."
Added Moskow, "With cold storage inventories of beef, pork, and turkey now at record levels and U.S. livestock producers planning to increase production significantly in 2018, even a small change to the export markets might have an outsized impact on price."
Tyson spokesperson Caroline Ahn said in a statement, "A healthy export industry benefits independent farmers like those who raise chicken, cattle and hogs for our company, as well as the communities where they live. Having good trading relationships builds certainty and stability in international trade, which is important to sustain a healthy domestic export industry and jobs."
Hormel didn't respond to a request for comment.
Shares of Tyson and Hormel were lower Friday amid a steeper sell-off in the broader market.