SAN ANGELO, TX — The unknown. That's what many producers fear when it comes to the tariffs proposed by President Donald Trump. Though the dispute has mostly been with China, the outcome of that discussion will impact those in the agriculture industry either way.
"There's a lot of uncertainty with what's going to happen with the tariffs,” Owens said.
Ag professor and rancher Corey Owens says retaliation is one of the main concerns for producers.
"Potentially some retaliatory tariffs that may come in the form of beef production, there's a lot of uncertainty in the market which is creating that supply so less meat is being exported right now,” Owens said.
Congressman Jodey Arrington was recently in Washington D.C. for many legislative meetings. He says that china exports 500 billion dollars’ worth of products to the United States. Compare that to the 100 billion dollars’ worth of goods exported from the U.S. to China.
"I would say they depend and need our market more than we need theirs but for too long we have allowed them to play by their own rules. They've taken advantage, they've circumvented rules, they've stolen intellectual property, and no one has held them accountable,” Arrington said.
His thoughts on the president's actions:
"I think the president is right but the question is, 'how do we hold them accountable?'” Arrington said.
That's one of the many questions the American people have as well. Arrington shared the advice he gave to the president.
"Stay focused on the bad guys and don't paint the whole community globally with a broad brush and let's apply the tariffs if we have to as a last resort to China but let's be real careful not to apply them to good trade partners,” Arrington said.
According to Owens there is a good partnership between the U.S. and Japan when it comes to one particular export.
"Japan is our largest export market for beef,” Owens said.
Arrington says there are strong voices in the legislature who speak up for agriculture producers and are working to strengthen trade overall.
"Let's settle NAFTA, let's do more trade. The best way to put the screws to China is to do more free-trade deals with Vietnam, Japan, and other countries in the Pacific Rim,” Arrington said.
Arrington says he believes President Trump is a man of action and was grateful for the 12 billion dollars of relief the administration gave to farmers and ranchers.