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U.S. growers concerned about possible trade wars

U.S. growers concerned about possible trade wars

President Trump recently announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports

By Diego Flammini
News Reporter

American farmers are worried they’ll be caught in the crossfire of a trade war with one their largest export markets.

Producers are concerned China will retaliate after President Trump announced the U.S. would apply 25 and 10 percent tariffs to aluminum and steel imports, respectively.

China imported $12.4 billion worth of American soybeans in 2017 to feeds it swine herds. Any disruptions to that trade relationship could hurt America’s farmers.

“Every time you (impose tariffs), you get a retaliation,” Senator Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, told Reuters yesterday. “Agriculture is the number one target. I think this is terribly counterproductive for the agriculture economy.”

And soybean producers may not be the only ones affected by potential trade wars.

The European Union is also considering tariffs on U.S. agricultural imports as a counterstrike to the tariffs on aluminum and steel.

“That’s what a lot of countries will look to do,” Rufus Yerxa, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, told NPR on Feb. 21. “Something that will get the Trump administration’s attention.”

Specifically, the EU could target bourbon, which is a large industry in Kentucky. European nations may also place tariffs on cheese from Wisconsin. Trump won both states in the 2016 election, meaning the tariffs could also be politically motivated.

“One of the things this whole era of increasing trade friction has shown us is our trading partners are learning a lot more about our Electoral College,” Yerxa told NPR.

The EU may also place tariffs on orange juice from Florida.