Tariff trade battle harvesting angst among NC farmers

Elaina Athans Image
Friday, July 20, 2018

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- The North Carolina Farm Bureau said this has not been a good year for farmers.

Weather and prices have been issues, and angst is only intensifying because of a tariff trade war.

"Why should agriculture have to bear the brunt of all the retaliation from our trading partners?" said North Carolina Farm Bureau President Larry Wooten.

North Carolina ranks high in agricultural sectors that could be affected by the tariff battle.

The Farm Bureau said the state produces 50 percent of the nation's tobacco and 75 percent of tobacco exported.

North Carolina also ranks No. 1 in poultry and No. 2 in pork production.

"If we can't move these products in the export market, then we begin to drown in those products," Wooten said.

President Donald Trump is escalating his threat against China. He indicated Friday that he is willing to place a tariff on every product that comes into America.

Other countries have vowed to retaliate with increased tariffs of their own.

Gov. Roy Cooper sent a letter to Trump this week urging him to "stop the economic damage."

The greatest impact to the Tar Heel State would be $340 million of tobacco, which is exported to Turkey, the European Union, and China.

Wooten said the tariff war could hurt the intricate, international web of commerce.

"When government just arbitrarily says we're going to put a 25 percent tariff on products, that dismantles all those years of relationships there," Wooten said