U.S., China trade war impacts local farmers and consumers

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COLUMBIA – The Trump administration enforced another tariff hike on Chinese imports Sunday morning. The 15% tax applies to about $112 billion worth of Chinese imports, possibly upping prices Americans pay for some clothes, shoes and other consumer goods.

In Missouri, the tariff hike will impact many businesses, including local farmers like Jones Angus Farms.

The farm has been family-owned and operated since 1949. It manages more than 300 cows and bulls to sell quality genetic cattle to producers. They then use the cattle to raise quality herds for production.

But, the family farm is suffering from prices dips caused in-part by the trade war.

“Very few times in my life have I seen all the markets go down at one time, and we’re seeing that now,” said Jeff Jones, owner and operator of Jones Angus Farms.

Farmers and other agricultural jobs are facing higher costs. Tractors, seed and other supplies cost more to purchase, but farmers are having to sell their commodities for less — especially when it comes to soybeans. 

China is one of the largest importers of U.S. soybeans and agricultural goods. China enforced an extra 5% tariff Sunday on top of the existing 25% for soybeans. 

CNBC reports more than two-thirds of Chinese consumer goods the United States imports now face higher taxes. In response, many U.S. companies say they will be forced to pass higher prices onto their customers to make up for the additional cost on Chinese imports, according to CNBC.

Jones agrees.

Farmers may have to start charging higher costs to consumers, but Jones said he is not against tariffs.

He hopes the new tariffs will keep foreign meats, which are usually cheaper and less regulated, out of U.S. markets. This would give consumers higher quality meats and produce.

“As farmers, we don’t mind to bleed a little bit upfront as long as we know we can win the battle in the end,” Jones said. “But, how long can we last?”

The tariff enforcement from both U.S. and China prolong the trade war, which has already gone on for over a year. 

“If you don’t get prepared for it and get braced for it, you won’t be able to continue,” Jones said. “So, what we’re trying to do is hold our overhead down.”

It’s not over yet.

The Trump administration is scheduled to impose a second round of 15% tariffs on Dec. 15. This time on roughly $160 billion of imports.

Anyone can see the list of newly tariffed goods on the Office of United States Trade Representatives website.

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