Sparks of a trade war between China and the US have Washington farmers on edge, and new data out of the Brookings Institution shows that agricultural workers in the Northwest have reason to worry.
On Monday, China announced tariffs on 128 products, including a 15 percent tariff on Washington-grown cherries, apples, and pears. The tariffs come in response to the Trump administration’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
The Brookings Institution used data from EMSI and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to create a map of the regions with the highest concentration of jobs in industries impacted by China’s tariffs. The outlined counties across the country all have impacted industry jobs in them. The darker the shade of blue, the higher the concentration of these jobs.
In the Pacific Northwest, the high concentration of jobs related to tree crops puts the area at risk for negative economical impacts. For example, China is the largest export market for Washington cherries. They buy approximately $127 million in cherries, $50 million in apples, and $1.5 million in pears each year. The 15 percent tariff also extends to a variety of dried fruits and wine.
The trade feud is likely to escalate as Trump is expected to announce additional tariffs on Chinese technology, aerospace and machinery industries later this week. Cui Tiankai, China’s ambassador to the US, says China will take countermeasures of the same scale and same intensity.