In part one of a special series on Florida’s agriculture industry, Shawn Mulcahy from WFSU News reports on the effect of the latest tariffs levied by the Trump Administration.
“An escalating trade war with China is casting a dark cloud over Florida’s blueberry industry,” says Mulcahy. “In recent years, President Donald Trump has imposed billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese goods…But the U.S.-levied tariffs have led China to impose retaliatory tariffs on American goods. That’s taken a toll on domestic industries, particularly farmers.”
Bud Chiles, son of former Gov. Lawton Chiles, who has been a full-time farmer for the past 10 years, conveyed his concerns about the recent round of tariffs. He noted the need for government to do more to protect local farmers.
Although President Trump has given billions of dollars in aid to farmers to help ease the impact of the tariffs. Chiles doesn’t believe that the problem can be solved by simply handing out money.
“Well those payments are – that’s not what farmers want,” said Chiles. “People don’t want a handout from the government, they just want to be able to compete. We just want to be able to compete.”
Another blow to Florida blueberry farmers may come if a trade deal with Chinese importers, which has been in negotiations for seven years, is put on hold because of the new tariffs.
Nikki Fried, the state’s agriculture commissioner also commented on the situation, “Florida is on the verge of exporting blueberries, one of our state’s top crops, to China – but these new tariffs threaten that trade opportunity,”
“If President Trump is serious about putting America first, he should start by putting Florida farmers first – not by inciting trade wars with China,” Fried said.
Read the full article here.