Arizona farmers feel the effects of a possible trade war with China
May 1, 2018
The Trump administration announced a one month extension for aluminum and steel tariffs, but the proposed tariffs on Chinese imports are still up in the air – and it’s having an effect on Arizona farmers.
The proposed tariffs, which would be on items like cotton, beef, soybeans and pork, may cost the U.S. almost 134,000 jobs, including more than 67,000 in just the agricultural sector. The uncertainty has local farmers worried.
“Even though we aren’t technically in a trade war yet, farmers are already feeling the impact of just the talk. Prices of commodities have fallen already, and banks are hesitating on loans,” Stefanie Smallhouse, president of the Arizona Farm Bureau, says. “Farmers are trying to determine what they’re going to plant.”
The possible trade war wouldn’t affect only farmers, it would also hurt Arizona’s economy and consumers. About a quarter of Arizona’s agriculture is exported abroad, and China is the second largest export market.
“Trade’s important to our industry because a lot of our items are perishable,” says farmer and Vice President of the Arizona Cotton Growers Association Kevin Rogers. “We’ve got to get our items to where the people are so we can help feed the people, feed ourselves and stay in business.”
Rogers says that the conversation on trade is a good start, but the gamesmanship has been tough. He says he would like to see it be more consistent, and “hopefully the administration steps up and does the right thing.”