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Could a trade war with China impact Pennsylvania farmers?

Could a trade war with China impact Pennsylvania farmers?

SCRANTON (WOLF) -- The U.S. and China are going tit for tat - imposing steep tariffs on various goods.

This week, China announced tariffs on 128 agricultural products like 15% on apples and 25% on pork products.

The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau says it’s a big concern for Pennsylvania farmers.

"Anytime that you increase tariffs, what you're doing is that you're making it more expensive for businesses in those countries to buy American products, so either they could stop buying them or they could buy less or they could get them from other countries," said Mark O'Neill, Director of Communications for the PFB.

The Farm Bureau says China is Pennsylvania's second largest agricultural export market, creating upwards of $18 billion annually.

"When you have trade issues that make it more difficult, if you have regulations that make it more difficult, it's just adding more pressure on farmers - and the potential could be, you know, if this isn't going to be profitable and I don't see a light at the end of the tunnel, the potential could be to sell out for development or go out of business," O'Neill added.

University of Scranton Economics Professor Dr. Satyajit Ghosh says Pennsylvania could be seriously hurt in the crossfire.

"With the loss of the market that you otherwise could be taking advantage of, some of the producers that would be otherwise selling abroad, what they will do in order to make ends meet, they will turn around and look for other markets to sell," he said.

That could mean products flooding the markets at home.

Fullers Overlook Farm in Waverly sells pasture-raised pork locally, and is hoping the market fluctuation doesn't impact them.

"Ultimately it always could if there's a lot of pork starting to come into the market, and lower prices. But hopefully we're buffered enough because people who're coming to us are coming because they want to," said Liz Krug, who manages the farm.

But Dr. Ghosh says this trade war could impact everyone - directly or indirectly - especially with the swinging stock market.

"They are short sighted, they don't do us any good. And really no party comes out of a trade war claiming victory because no one can," he said.

Neither the U.S. or Chinese tariffs have gone into effect.

Dr. Ghosh says there is no foreseeable end to the trade war between the two countries.

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