Latest Round Of Chinese Tariffs & NAFTA Uncertainty Could Hit Idaho Wheat

Apr 4, 2018

China's latest round of tariffs on U.S. imports includes items listed as "other durum wheat" and "other wheat and mixed wheat." Wednesday's tariffs are valued at $50 billion and target 106 American-made products.
Credit See-ming Lee / Flickr

China is imposing new tariffs on over 100 American-made products, including wheat. It’s the second time the Asian nation implemented new fees on American imports this week.


President Donald Trump may have tweeted the U.S. isn’t in a trade war with China, but events this week tell a different story.

On Monday, China released a list of 128 American products it would impose $3 billion worth of tariffs on. Tuesday, the U.S. came up 1,300 Chinese goods it proposed new tariffs on.

Today, China put out another list of 106 items it would raise prices on – including wheat.

“We don’t see that impacting us tremendously,” says Blaine Jacobson, the head of the Idaho Wheat Commission. “That being said, the tariffs in general are not a good idea for American agriculture because about half of U.S. agricultural products are exported.”

He says half of Idaho’s wheat is shipped abroad. It goes to Japan, Taiwan and Indonesia, along with countries in Latin America. While Jacobson monitors the tit-for-tat with China, he’s more concerned with ongoing NAFTA negotiations with Canada and Mexico.

“If Mexico were to take less wheat, then the wheat from the Midwest would be on the market and depressing prices for farmers,” Jacobson says. “That would ripple out to Idaho.”

As a result of tensions with China, a new sense of urgency has developed around NAFTA. Canadian reports say the Americans are being more constructive now than in the past eight months of negotiations.

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