Farmers, who largely backed Trump, know the damage from his trade war will be 'significant, real and serious for rural America.'
Under Trump, farmers are having what they’ve described as their “worst fears” realized.
Trump made the decision to push for tariffs on steel and aluminum while disregarding warnings from economists. When told the tariffs would spark retaliatory action from other countries and spark a destructive trade war, Trump said “trade wars are good, and easy to win.”
The flippant response characteristically ignored the impact of a trade war on working Americans and vital sectors of the economy, like farming.
China has now decided to use their massive economic muscle and push back on Trump. The Chinese government has now imposed tariffs on 182 American products, including pork and various fruits.
A statement from the Chinese Ministry of Finance directly called out Trump’s tariffs and said they “caused serious damage to our interests.”
Brian Duncan, Illinois hog farmer and vice president of the Illinois Farm Bureau, told the Chicago Tribune, “This is significant, real and serious for rural America.”
Pork farmers rely on the Chinese market to sell cuts that are unpopular in the United States, but now the tariffs could lead to the rejection of American products. Instead of paying the Trump premium for American pork, China could just look elsewhere. That would lead to a massive loss for Americans.
The fallout puts Trump-voting states directly in the crosshairs. Of the ten biggest pork-producing states in America, eight of them voted for Trump in the 2016 election.
Billions of dollars of pork exports are at risk and attached to that are thousands of jobs.
Trump has put the industry in jeopardy just by triggering a response from China that could be echoed around the world. It isolates America and closes markets to products that help keep the U.S. economy running.
China is also retaliating with tariffs on U.S. exports of apples, oranges, almonds, pineapples, grapes, watermelons, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, and cherries.
Each bit of retaliation from Trump’s ill-considered initiative will have a ripple effect on the American economy, and negatively impact the economic recovery he inherited.
Trump had no real reason for pushing on tariffs, other than his ego and a desire to chase away unflattering headlines. Now, American farmers, their families and employees will have to deal with the fallout.
International retaliation has again isolated America, and red states who backed Trump will feel a disproportionate amount of the impact. Once again, voters in those states are learning that Trump has it in for them and he will make them suffer for their choices.