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US Tariffs On Chinese Goods Could Ultimately Harm Kansas Farmers

Harvest Public Media/File photo
While U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods are focused on tech products, Chinese tariffs will likely focus on agricultural goods.

A blossoming trade war between the United States and China could have a big impact on Kansas farmers and businesses.

President Donald Trump has made good on his threat to slap an additional 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. In turn, Chinese officials have committed to retaliatory tariffs in the same amount. But while U.S. tariffs are focused on tech products, Chinese tariffs will likely focus on agricultural goods.

That big of a tariff will likely diminish any profit a farmer makes by selling to China, keeping them from being able to sell in that market.

“And if they’re selling globally right now and then they can no longer do so, in turn they’re going to have to downsize or just take some losses,” said Holli Schletzbaun of Kansas Global Trade Services.

Kansas exported more than $100 million worth of agricultural products to China last year; it's one of the state's largest export markets overall.

Schletzbaun says a decrease in sales to China could also result in an excess of product left in America, adding futher downward pressure to prices.

The Trump administration says the tariffs are meant to punish China for what it calls unfair trade practices that have hurt U.S. companies.

Brian Grimmett reports on the environment and energy for KMUW in Wichita and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio, KCUR and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. Follow him on Twitter @briangrimmett. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post.