Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Trump's Expected Tariffs Could Be Bad News For Ranchers

Cows in a field
J. Stephen Conn
States in the Mountain West sell everything from beef to computer parts to China.

Ranchers and farmers in the Mountain West ship a lot of products overseas to China. Now the Trump administration is expected to hit China with $60 billion dollars worth of annual tariffs.

Last year China opened its doors to U.S. beef for the first time in more than a decade.

Montana ranchers jumped at the opportunity. They signed a multi-million dollar deal with a large Chinese company to sell beef.

George Haynes, an economist with Montana State University, wonders what the retaliation is going to be if the Trump administration slaps these tariffs on China.

“We’re all concerned about that,” he says.

China could fire back at Trump by slapping a tariff on the U.S.’s growing cattle exports.

“I think all ought to be concerned that we may see those numbers become smaller rather than larger,” he says.

Many other states in the Mountain West have trade relationships with China. They sell everything from dairy and hay to lumber and even computer parts.

China is the United States’ largest trading partner. But the nation has also been accused of flooding the market with low-priced steel and the theft of U.S. intellectual property.

The Trump administration is expected to announce the tariffs on Friday.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Utah, and KUNC and KRCC in Colorado.