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Jan 13, 2022
Farmers lost $27B in exports during 2018 trade war

A 2018 trade war had high costs for U.S. farmers.

The USDA reports in a new study that tariffs on agricultural exports led to $27 billion in trade losses.

At the commodity level, export losses were far reaching but highly concentrated. Overall, specialty crops represented around 6% of losses ($837 million in annualized losses) across fruits, vegetables and tree nuts.

Soybeans accounted for the largest level of losses making up nearly 71% ($9.4 billion of annualized losses) of the share of estimated trade damages. In comparison, sorghum ($854 million in annualized losses) and pork ($646 million in annualized losses) trade losses were the next largest, accounting for over 6% and just under 5%, respectively, of the total.

In 2018, President Donald Trump first imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum over concern about national security risks. This kicked off a trade war with a series of retaliatory tariffs from China and five other regions on American meat, dairy and other food products.

In 2018, the United States imposed Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from major trading partners and separately Section 301 tariffs on a broad range of imports from China.

In response to these actions, six trading partners – Canada, China, the European Union, India, Mexico and Turkey – responded with retaliatory tariffs on a range of U.S. agricultural exports, including agricultural and food products.

The agricultural products targeted for retaliation were valued at $30.4 billion in 2017, with individual product lines experiencing tariff increases ranging from 2% to 140%.

The new report provides a detailed look at the impact of retaliatory tariffs by state and commodity and estimates the direct export losses associated with the trade conflict.

View the report summary here.

View the entire report here.

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