Industries React to Trade Battle

How U.S. industries, like pork and big equipment, are reacting to new tariffs.


NEW YORK (AP) — After the U.S. imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods, China retaliated by imposing tariffs on the same amount of U.S. products. Here's a look at reaction from some of the U.S. industries affected:

Pork Producers

The U.S. pork industry last year sent $1.1 billion worth of product to China, making it the third largest export market after Japan and Mexico.

Dave Warner, a spokesman for the National Pork Producers Council, said pork producers have already seen the value of their pigs fall after a previous Chinese tariff. Warner said pig producers will likely feel the effect of the new tariff, though it's not yet clear exactly how.

"I'm guessing we won't be sending as much pork to China," he said.

He said exports often consist of pig parts not in demand domestically, such as offal, and that China's huge population and demand for pork represents an opportunity for U.S. producers.

"They need a lot of it, we have a lot of it, so hopefully everyone comes to their senses," he said.

Soybean Farmers

Leaders of the American soybean industry and mayors of communities whose economies depend on farming predict the tariffs will also affect farm equipment manufacturing, transport industries, banking, retailing and even tourism. The U.S. exported 30 percent of its overall soybean production to China last year.

"There are winners and losers in every trade war," said the Iowa Soybean Association. "The soybean industry is a loser if we become a residual, rather than primary, supplier of soybeans to China."

John Heisdorffer, a soybean grower from Keota, Iowa, and president of American Soybean Association, warned that the United States' competitive position in the world soybean market could be permanently damaged, with the possibility that Brazil and others could gain market share.

"If we lose that, my son will spend the rest of his lifetime trying to get that back," he said. "We just ask the administration to back away from using tariffs to achieve U.S. trade policy goals. The scorched-earth approach is really going to cost us."

Farm Equipment

Mayor Frank Klipsch of Davenport, Iowa, said he fears not only the impact on farmers but on farm equipment makers. Deere & Co., the maker of John Deere tractors, is headquartered in nearby Moline, Illinois, and employs 6,000 workers across the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa, according to the region's chamber of commerce.

Mayor Lionel Johnson of St. Gabriel, Louisiana, said his state could be hardest-hit, not because it produces so many soybeans, but because it's where they depart from.

"We are the gateway port for that product to the rest of the world, and China is the largest destination," Johnson said.


Hun Quach, vice president of international trade for Retail Industry Leaders Association, said U.S. retailers will also deal with the fallout from tariffs.

"Retailers support a level playing field for America on the global stage, but punishing American families and the millions of American workers whose jobs are supported by trade is not the way to strengthen our trading relationships," Quach said. "This tranche of tariffs on both exports and imports threatens our nation's prosperity, and will imperil millions of jobs if allowed to persist. "

Tariff Proponents

"Attention reporters, pundits, and headline writers using 'First Shots in a Trade War:' Go visit the hollowed out towns in our industrial heartland where the shock of Chinese imports brought job losses and grim circumstances," said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. "If anything, these new tariffs are more like D-Day."