Phase Two

Chinese Tariff Increase Will Be Tough on California Ag

Brian German Agri-Business, Trade

The Chinese tariff increase announced Monday, April 2 comes in response to the Trump administration’s increased tariffs on Chinese goods.  The fee increases will affect 128 imports coming from the United States.  Several major California commodities are going to be affected by a 15 percent tariff increase including fruits, nuts, and wine.  Pork and seven other products will experience a tariff increase of 25 percent.

Chinese Tariff Increase“It’s very disappointing to see the United States pull back from a more liberal trade stance,” said California Association of Winegrape Growers President John Aguirre.  “Previously, the U.S. position had been focused on opening markets through negotiations.”

Officials in Beijing had previously warned the U.S. about increasing tariffs last month.  Several agricultural associations are concerned about what type of impact this is going to have on their industries as China is a significant export market for California products.  “You’re looking at about a $197 million-dollar market for U.S. wine and…when you talk about U.S. wine exports, you’re really talking about California,” Aguirre said.

The wine sector has been one of several California agriculture industries to see strong growth in the Chinese market in recent years.  Aguirre noted that imported wine consumption has more than doubled in China over the past five years.  “That’s really strong growth.  And it would be very unfortunate if California misses out on that future growth,” said Aguirre.

According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, China and Hong Kong make up the third-largest market for agricultural exports from California, with the largest commodities being almonds, wine, pistachios, and oranges.  The Chinese tariff increase has a serious potential to offset some of the significant gains made my California products in that market.  “We run the risk of losing the hard-earned market share that we have today, and it could be very, very difficult to reclaim that market once others have filled the void,” Aguirre said.


Listen to Aguirre’s interview below.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West