Eastern Washington agriculture leaders meet to discuss tariff impacts

Eastern Washington agriculture leaders meet to discuss tariff impacts

Agriculture leaders from across Eastern Washington were in Spokane Thursday to discuss how a possible trade war with China will impact the regions exports.

The roundtable was hosted by Farmers for Free Trade and included talks about how crops like apples, cherries and wine have already felt the impact of tariffs in addition to how additional tariffs would impact crops like wheat.

China has threatened expanded 25 percent tariffs on additional crops which includes wheat. Wheat is a major crop for Eastern Washington farmers and 90 percent of the crop is exported.

According to the Washington Grain Commission, last year China was the fourth largest importer of US wheat.

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers was at the event listening to concerns and said she’s going to be working with President Trump and his economic advisors to try and protect Eastern Washington farmers. She says his current approach of across the board tariffs threatens her constituents.

“President Trump lets focus on the illegal practices, and if it is China and we all agree it is with the dumping that has been taking place, lets focus on those practices rather than cross the board tariffs that impact our allies and long time trading partners,” she said.

She says because Washington is the most trade dependent state in the nation, the best thing farmers in Eastern Washington can do is to continue to educate themselves on trade and continue to share their stories.

“If we continue with across the board tariffs,” she said, “I’m concerned they will lead us to a trade war.”