US-China trade war might have lasting effect on Oregon exports

Recent trade disruptions have not only reduced exports of Oregon agricultural products; they could also stymie future growth opportunities, say state officials and industry leaders.

The ongoing trade dispute with China has already taken a toll on Oregon farm exports, but now uncertainty about trade deals with other key partners may also result in lost sales, experts said during a hearing Monday before the Oregon House Agriculture and Land Use Committee.

Alexis Taylor, director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, said that about 40% of Oregon’s farm output is exported, compared to 20% for the U.S. as a whole, and 13% of the state’s gross domestic product is tied to agriculture.

Chinese tariffs are currently higher than 50% on several commodities -hazelnuts, fresh apples and cherries- and are expected to rise to 100% for wheat in December, according to ODA. Tariffs on processed potatoes and forage products will be rising as well.

“We will have multiple layers of tariffs adding onto one another before the end of the year,” said Jess Paulson, ODA’s director of market access and certification programs.

According to an article on bendbulletin.com, the number of export certificates for Oregon cherry shipments to China has dropped by half since 2017 and the state industry expects to lose $86 million in sales, Taylor said.

Meanwhile, as the total amount and market share of U.S. cherries in China have dropped, both the volume and market share supplied by Chile and Canada have increased along with Chinese demand, according to ODA.


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