Local news coverage focuses on negative impact of Trump tariffs

Local news coverage focuses on negative impact of Trump tariffs
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From Alaskan seafood to BMWs produced in South Carolina, President TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE’s growing trade war with nations from China to Turkey has spurred a series of alarming news stories from reporters seeking a local angle on a global phenomenon.

That coverage has been almost universally negative, as local outlets report on the costs and impacts to industries important to their economies.


In the Midwest, much of the local news coverage has focused on soybean farmers. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates those farmers will lose an estimated $12 billion from trade with China alone.

“Trade war? Chinese retaliation to Trump tariffs would hit Ohio hard,” read an April headline in the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Indiana Farmers Feeling Impact Of Tariffs, Fear More,” Indiana’s NPR affiliate reported. One state over, “Tariffs to impact soybean farmers in Illinois,” the Chicago Tribune wrote.

President Trump has blamed trade deals cut by previous administrations for falling soybean prices and pledged to make sure farmers return to their former glory. The Trump administration said Tuesday it would offer $12 billion in emergency funding for farmers hurt by the trade tiff — though even that plan drew scorn in local media.

“In KC, Trump asks farmers for patience. But $12 billion payoff won’t fix trade policy,” the Kansas City Star editorialized.

Industry experts said the trade war could exacerbate a long-term trend of family farms succumbing to economic pressures and selling to larger multinational conglomerates.

“I’m just so afraid that we’ve lost this trade and I don’t know how we’re going to get it back,” John Heisdorffer, an Iowa soybean farmer and president of the American Soybean Association, told The Hill in an interview. “The farm economy cannot take this and we need to get back to work and increase these exports.”

Other local news outlets also focused on industries grappling with a changing economy.

In Alaska, the Anchorage Daily News said China’s retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports, and the Trump administration’s new tariffs on Chinese seafood, would cost American consumers and Alaska fisheries hundreds of millions of dollars.

“Seafood production is very much an international business. No man is an island here when it comes to the business of seafood,” said Brent Paine, executive director of United Cather Boats, which represents fishing vessel owners in Pacific Coast states. “End result is, it’s going to cost the consumer more.”

Paine said lower American seafood exports would give Russian seafood merchants a leg up.

South Carolina’s Greenville News spotlighted tariffs impacting BMW, which assembles some of its automobiles there. The company has said it cannot absorb the total cost increases imposed by American tariffs.

Smaller industries are likely to be affected as well. New Mexico’s salsa and chili industry could feel a $500,000 loss, according to local station KRQE. A furniture manufacturer in Florida told the Miami Herald the tariffs will force him to raise prices. Prices on high-end outdoor grills will rise as much as $350 per unit beginning next week for one company, the Dallas Morning News reported. Democrats have already launched an attack on Rep. Andy BarrGarland (Andy) Hale BarrSchumer urging ex-congressional candidate Amy McGrath to run against McConnell House Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 Poll shows 25 percent view McConnell favorably, lowest among leaders in survey MORE (R-Ky.), whose district includes Kentucky bourbon distillers, over retaliatory tariffs on distilled spirits, the Lexington Herald Leader noted.

The Trump administration has threatened new tariffs, and the president is reportedly considering up to a 25 percent tariff on automobile imports — one that could spark more retaliation and affect already hard-hit communities in car manufacturing hubs like Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky.

Those whose industries have already been impacted say any new tariffs will probably generate more local news stories that the White House would rather not see.

“I would tell them that this escalating trade tariff war with various international countries is only going to end up hurting the U.S. consumer and the U.S. producers and the product they are exporting,” Paine said.