As Trade War Continues, North Carolina Farmers Get Caught In The Middle

As Trade War Continues, North Carolina Farmers Get Caught In The Middle

5:00am Jul 27, 2018
President Donald Trump speaks before signing an Executive Order that establishes a National Council for the American Worker during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Trump said he’s willing to hit all imported goods from China with tariffs, sending U.S. markets sliding before the opening bell on Friday, July 20. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

North Carolina farmers are waiting to see what will happen as a trade war between the U.S. and the rest of the world plays out.

The reason: agriculture is one of North Carolina’s biggest economic sectors, worth tens of billions of dollars.

After President Trump imposed his initial tariffs on aluminum and steel, other countries fought back, slapping import taxes on things like pork and soybeans, which are among North Carolina’s key exports.

Such tariffs make the products more expensive, and less attractive, to foreign buyers, potentially putting farm incomes at risk.

North Carolina A&T State University economist Mark Burkey says talks happening now between the U.S. and others could ease some of the current tension.  

“I’m hopeful that if discussions between the United States and Europe can progress quickly, that maybe will be a catalyst for getting some kind of deal going between the United States and the rest of the world,” Burkey says.

If that doesn’t happen, the state’s farmers and manufacturers could be in for a prolonged and bumpy economic ride.

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