Chico, Calif.— Many are fearing a trade war after new tariffs were announced by China today on some products that are made right here in the North State.
President Trump approved a 25% tariff on imported steel and a 15% hike on aluminum about two weeks ago. In response, and what many see as retaliation, China imposed tariffs on more than 100 imported U.S. goods, including a 15% tariff on nuts.
Now local farmers feel like they're caught in the middle.
"The biggest fear is it comes down to the bottom line," said Jeff Cripe, owner of Cripe Orchads in North Chico.
Cripe said the farming industry has been evolving, and while there have been some improvements, he continues to face challenges. The latest being the 15% tariff imposed by China on Monday.
"What's frustrating is that I think we really don't have much of a say in it. Agriculture is going to be deeply impacted," he said.
Cripe grows walnuts and almonds, both of which would be directly impacted by the tariff.
"Walnuts specifically, we already have a 30 % tariff, maybe 35 with china right now that they've imposed against us. We're already dealing with that and another 15 on top of that would put us close to a 50% tariff," he said.
Cripe said the effects these tariffs will have are still unknown, but he's concerned about the trickle-down economics.
"If we're making less, we're going to be buying less equipment, and that impacts manufacturers across the United States and it goes from there. So if we have less to spend, we're obviously going to be spending less,” he said.
Cripe said he hopes and prays that some of these tariffs will be pulled back, and he hopes that politicians will listen to him and other farmers.
"I'm very concerned about them, I think allowing the market to just dictate and roll on a free market is the way to go. I wish if our president is going to put America first, he is going to get rid of tariffs," Cripe said.
I did reach out to Congressman Doug LaMalfa’s office for comment but we have not yet heard back.
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