How tariffs hurt Washington’s cherry farmers

Jency Clement, Beyond Liberty Editor

I typically don’t think about farmers, probably because I live in one of the suburbs of Seattle. However, the issues farmers deal with are close to home; if I lived in an obscure town in the middle of Eastern Washington, I would be pretty worried.
Recently, President Donald Trump imposed a series of tariffs on U.S. imports. Because of China’s past offenses, Trump decided that raised tariffs would be a just retaliatory measure. Moreover, since last year’s trade deficit with China stood at $375 billion, Trump reasoned that tariffs would help balance the deficit. Needless to say, many American trading partners were extremely frustrated by these implementations.
China was quick to respond with a 25 percent tariff on cherries and other American fruits. The United States rapidly followed with another 25 percent tariff on $34 billion of Chinese imports. Thus, China retaliated with a severe action: a 50 percent tariff on cherries. And this trade war is only continuing, with the U.S. placing tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. Of course, China will reciprocate, thus escalating this relentless stream of tariffs.
Now, these tariffs pose difficulties for Washington’s farmers, especially since our agricultural industry typically exports about 30 percent of its products. More specifically, there is an added pressure on cherry farmers, since China is the largest cherry buyer from Washington state. While exporting to China, many Washingtonian farmers have attempted to offset the cost of cherry tariffs by raising cherry selling prices. Yet, the surging expenses of cherries simply caused a decline in Chinese cherry consumption, leaving farmers with increased financial burdens.
As seen by the situation with the cherries, American interests and commerce are struggling due to the global trade war. America’s role in causing this conflict makes it appear untrustworthy and selfish in its pursuits, thereby negatively affecting its global status.
Although the tariffs may have initially benefited the United States with added revenue, their overall impact was detrimental to the country. The United States needs its neighbors, and disrupting global commerce to benefit oneself isn’t just selfish, it is also simply naive, as demonstrated by the effects on cherry farmers. While there is possible merit to raising tariffs, the repercussions significantly outweigh the benefits.
When we deal with foreign interests, we have to be extremely cautious. Other world powers, such as China, have extreme power when it comes to our economy. International dealings have local impacts, and messing with China affects American people.
As the current administration makes decisions, it must consider the consequences of economic actions; after all, global decisions have overarching impacts that extend even to small-town people.