West Texas farmers growing anxious as trade war with China conti

West Texas farmers growing anxious as trade war with China continues

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The trade war between the United States and China continues to get deeper. 

President Trump announced a 25% increase of tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods Friday.

In retaliation, the Chinese government also announced a 20 to 25% tariff raise on American goods.

Benjamin Powell, the director of the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech, said the longer this dispute plays out, the more it will hurt both the national and local economy.

"The last thing the farmers need, the consumers need, U.S. businesses need, or for that matter, the poor Chinese citizens need is a trade war escalation. What we need is for this thing to deescalate quickly," Powell said.

Kody Bessent, with Plains Cotton Growers, said these tariffs hit farmers the hardest, and they have seen this picture before. 

"If most producers at this time last year remember, we were sitting around $0.90 per pound within our futures market and when some of those trade disputes arose, our markets started to severely erode and collapse," Bessent said.

While Powell said commodity prices for farmers will take a big hit, the tariffs extend to much more than just agriculture. 

"It's not just sorghum farmers and cotton farmers in the Lubbock area that are going to be hurt, but also Lubbock businesses that use imported products as intermediate products to make their own goods are also going to suffer," Powell said.

Bessent added farmers are still hopeful President Trump will live up to his pledge of completing a robust trade agreement with China, but he said their patience is running thin. 

"As production in rural industries impact this area, so goes along the rest of our economy. They will feel that. So we're hopeful the administration is very mindful of that in their discussions moving forward," Bessent said.

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