Column: Trump’s new tariffs could harm nearly everyone

With a possible Chinese trade war brewing and new tariffs on both sides creating a lot of uncertainty, many people are worried their farms will not recover.
Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at the South Point Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Wikipedia

Madi Baughman is a freshman journalism and political science major at MU. She is an opinions columnist who writes about political and civil rights issues for The Maneater.

Many rural Americans voted for President Donald Trump because they believed he would keep their ways of life safe, but with a possible Chinese trade war brewing and newly imposed tariffs leaving soybeans, corn and other row crops hanging in the balance, many are worrying that their farms will suffer.

Trump’s aggressive rhetoric threatening a trade war is what pushed China to propose the retaliatory tariffs on soybeans, as well as aircrafts and cars, among other things. While tariffs on soybeans for one country may not seem like a big deal to those who do not come from rural backgrounds, it hits a lot harder for those who rely on those crops to support their families. What makes it so significant is that China buys 60 percent of all soybean exports, so if these tariffs carry through in the long term, many people will not be able to sustain their way of life, especially after hard crop seasons recently. This can be especially worrying for Missouri agriculture, as soybeans are one of Missouri’s most profitable crops.

And it’s not just that. While the tariffs on American goods could potentially hit close to home, the threat of a $100 billion tariff plan on goods from China looms uncomfortably close. This comes after Trump’s previous tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum, and even members of his own party aren’t pleased with this. Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska even went as far as to quip that Trump is “threatening to light American agriculture on fire,” in Vice News. If this possible trade war just keeps escalating, there’s no telling who may be caught in the crossfire.

You, personally, may not be a soybean farmer, but there’s going to be an impact on the economy if this trade war is carried out, especially in the agriculture sector. And, as Missouri is still a pretty agricultural state, we’re bound to see the effects on farmers — for better or for worse. Many government officials as well as farmers are urging Trump to go for a more constructive approach to dealing with China. However, as long as the president is allowed to push this trade war unchecked, it is uncertain what the future will hold for hundreds of thousands of people whose livelihoods depend on what Trump is wagering.

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