War Zone

The trade war between President Donald Trump and China took a dramatic turn on Aug. 5, when China signaled it was not tolerating Trump’s rants against the country and his penchant for announcing further tariffs on imports of Chinese goods. After trade talks broke down in Shanghai, Trump announced a 10-percent tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods to take effect Sept. 1. China responded with the announcement it was no longer buying U.S. agricultural products.

The announcement “is a body blow to thousands of farmers and ranchers who are already struggling to get by,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a press release. Some of the hardest-hit products include soybeans, grains and feeds, cotton, tobacco, dairy, livestock and meats, horticultural products, oilseeds and related products.

The most impacted ag products in California include tree nuts, table grapes and cherries, all mostly grown in the Central Valley, not Monterey County.

Most of Monterey County’s exported crops go to Mexico and Canada. Even though wine grapes are subject to the new Chinese tariffs, Monterey County winemakers don’t export a significant volume to China.

The Weekly is powered by the generosity of readers like you, who support our mission to produce engaging, independent and in-depth journalism.

Show Your Support
Learn More

Carolyn O’Donnell, communications director for the California Strawberry Commission, says the Chinese market for California berries only opened three years ago and has remained relatively small. So far this year, China purchased $425,500 worth of frozen California strawberries, which is down by 65 percent at the same time last year.

“It wasn’t an important piece of the overall market for strawberry growers,” O’Donnell says. The biggest importer of California strawberries by far is Canada, which last year imported more than $272 million worth of mostly fresh berries.

Monterey County’s biggest industry may not be hit hard so far, but consumers will be. They are the next biggest losers after U.S. farmers and businesses, economists say, due to tariffs imposed by China on its goods sent here.

Become a Weekly Insider.

Join Us
Learn More

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.