Tennessee agriculture caught in crossfire of global trade war

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Tennessee pig farmers find themselves in the midst of global conflict.

Pig farmers want their hogs fat, but they don't want their market to soften. That's what they've seen as China taxes U.S. pork sold in its country at a rate of 25 percent, retaliation for the similar tax President Donald Trump imposed on its steel and aluminum sold here.

Dave Salmonsen with the U.S. Farm Bureau - lobbies Congress, speaking for farmers.
He said the tariffs are cutting into cash flow and make planning more difficult in the short term. "What you worry about over a longer period of time is losing that market altogether," he said, "right now, we're seeing that, because we're seeing other countries move in who have pork to sell."

In a statement, Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. writes:

"The president is right to insist that trade should be not only free, but fair. For years, China has unfairly locked American products out of their market and stolen our technology, and the president was right to stand up and defend America.

My concern, however, is that broadly-applied, across-the-board tariffs will cause some of our closest trading partners to retaliate with tariffs of their own.

American agriculture is the best in the world, and tariffs on our agricultural products could be very harmful to Tennessee's economy. We absolutely can - and should - take steps to address the damage done to our country through the unfair trade practices of countries like China, but we have to minimize the damage that could be done to American workers, businesses and consumers."

Pork isn't the only Tennessee product facing higher costs. A new tariff on exported American tobacco recently took effect.

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