Tariffs Could Cost California Growers Billions

Tariffs Could Cost California Growers Billions

new study from the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Agricultural Issues Center finds that tariffs on 10 fruit and tree nut exports alone are estimated to cost the U.S. $3.4 billion annually.

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According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, fruit and tree nuts account for more than half of the state’s agricultural exports. Fruits and nuts are unlikely to receive direct payments through the Market Facilitation Program and will be limited to the Food Purchase and Distribution Program as part of the Trump administration’s $12 billion relief package.

The study was released as USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue visits California’s Central Valley at a time when farmers are paying the price of the trade war and potentially losing their markets to foreign competitors, says Farmers for Free Trade Executive Director Brian Kuehl.

“The trade war comes with a steep price for farmers in California and across the country,” he says. “Producers and growers have spent years cultivating markets for commodity exports, only to see foreign competitors capture those markets overnight.”

Tariffs hurt American farmers by depressing prices and taking away their ability to compete, Kuehl says.

“We hope Secretary Perdue hears from farmers who are experiencing the pain caused by tariffs firsthand and urges the president to change course before any more damage is done,” he says.

As part of its Tariffs Hurt the Heartland Campaign, Farmers for Free Trade is hosting agribusiness roundtables this week in Bakersfield and Fresno to discuss the importance of trade, the costs of the trade war, and its negative impact on American exports, particularly in the agriculture and manufacturing industries.

Not limited to California, Farmers for Free Trade has been hosting bipartisan roundtables with members of Congress all across the U.S.

“Lawmakers are advancing policies that hurt the very people who drive our economy,” Kuehl says. “These roundtables will share the stories of farmers, manufacturers, workers, and families who have been hurt by the trade war through lost jobs or canceled contracts. The UC study only further drives the point that tariffs are hammering America’s heartland and the trade war comes with heavy costs for American producers and businesses that rely on exports to pay their bills, put people to work, and drive our economy.”