The announcement yesterday that China will impose a 25 percent tariff on around $50 billion worth of U.S. imports will likely have a significant impact on Arkansas farmers.

The new round of proposed retaliatory tariffs, the latest volley in a trade war pushed by President Trump, would impact some of the state’s biggest cash crops, including soybeans, cotton and sorghum. An earlier round of threatened tariffs included pork.


An analysis last month by economists with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture found that retaliatory tariffs could  mean a $383 million economic hit for the state, costing more than 4,000 jobs.

Talk Business had a good roundup yesterday on the potential impact in Arkansas:


A timetable for the implementation of this latest round of tariffs is not known, and with so much uncertainty it’s hard to gauge what the impacts will be to soybean, cotton, and pork producers, Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward told Talk Business & Politics.

Arkansas farmers are projected to grow 3.6 million soybean acres in 2018, Ward said. China imports about $14 billion in soybeans, and is the second largest export market for the U.S. Ward said he isn’t concerned about international trade wars touted by President Donald Trump, but state officials are keeping a keen eye as events unfold.

“It’s something we’re watching,” Ward said. “Lots of things can happen between now and harvest time.”

Springdale-based Tyson Foods could take a hit because of the pork tariffs, Talk Business reports:

The global meat producer and distributor had $145.65 million in pork export sales to China and Hong Kong in the most recent fiscal year, or 15% of the company’s $971 million pork export business. In total, China and Hong Kong accounted for 21% of Tyson’s protein – chicken, beef and pork – exports sales of $4.5 billion last year.

Presumably also impacted by the tariffs on Pork: JBS, the Brazilian meat processing conglomerate which owns the thousands of hogs housed at C&H Hog Farms, the controversial concentrated animal feeding operation near the Buffalo River in an ongoing battle over its permit. I’m guessing some of those pigs wind up in pork products that JBS ships from the U.S. to China and will now be slapped with tariffs.


Via the Washington Post, here’s an analysis from the Brookings Institute of the impact on the number of jobs in industries targeted by the latest round of threatened Chinese tariffs, which also breaks down the impact between counties that voted for Hillary Clinton and counties that voted for Donald Trump: