Trade war between US, China could impact local farmers

MADISON COUNTY, Tenn. — With the recent decision of President Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs on Chinese imports, a trade war is slowly forming between the U.S. and China.

China announced Monday that it will raise the tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods in response to a tariff by President Trump on $200 billion of Chinese imports.

“I love the position we’re in,” President Trump said. “There can be some retaliation, but it can’t be very substantial by comparison.”

The increase of 10 to 25 percent could impact several industries, even here in West Tennessee.

“That could be a lot of different things, including the clothing that you buy,” CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger said. “It could be more of the items you see in a big box retailer, and specifically that could include smartphones.”

There is a wide range of products that would be impacted due to these trade wars, including sporting goods, clocks, even smart devices. But the biggest impact will be on agricultural goods.

“The United States needs to work with China in a big way, because before the tariffs, China was buying one out of every three soybeans we raised in the United States,” said Verell Farm owner Johnny Verell.

Verell says soybeans are down 20 to 25 percent of what they were before tariffs that were put in place during last year’s trade issues with China. And the impact on soybeans could cause problems with other crops.

“We raise corn and wheat, and they are directly affected by the soybean price too,” Verell said. “Every time the price of soybeans goes down, it seems to pull those prices down also.”

Verell says rain has already impacted many farmers’ crops, and an increase on tariffs could hurt profits even more.

“We can’t really sit and wait on whether we are going to plant a crop or not,” Verell said. “So we’ve got to hope that things will be put into place so that these tariffs will be removed, and we’ll hope to have a better soybean market going forward this fall.”

The Trump administration is planning another tariff of up to 25% on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports after China’s retaliation Monday. President Trump plans to meet with Chinese officials at the G-20 summit next month.

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