Latest move in US-China trade war could impact Valley farmers

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- China is stepping away from all U.S. farm product imports as a trade war heats up between the world's two largest economies.

"The surprise isn't there, but that doesn't soften the blow what so ever," said Fresno County Farm Bureau Ryan Jacobsen.

Experts say this could have a devastating effect on the American farmer, and more specifically, California growers who at last check account for over $2 billion in trade value with China with pistachios and almonds at the top of the export list.

"When you start talking about that big of a trade partner cutting off significant portions of their purchasing from us, it does affect markets. It does affect it does have some consequences," Jacobsen said.

The latest move by China in the trade war sent global markets plunging Monday.

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Just as a majority of all agriculture commodities are being harvested or are about to be harvested now, a large number of those products end up in foreign markets, such as China.

"There are some crops that we are the lion's share provider for China," said farmer John Chandler. "I think it's going to have some pretty drastic effects for the people of China."

Fourth-generation Selma farmer John Chandler remains optimistic that the two sides can reach an agreement soon but understands this could be political posturing by China.

"We're going to lose a big market, but they're going to have to be able to supply the needs of their country some way," he said.

Nut products remain extremely popular in China, but the country also traditionally imports a wide array of crops from the San Joaquin Valley.

"We send a lot of raisins, grapes as well as figs just anything you can think of we grow here locally likely ends up over there some shape or way no matter how minor it is," Jacobsen said.

Before Monday, China was one of the largest buyers of U.S. ag-related products, but following the announcement Wall Street say its worst day of the year. Experts are predicting another dip Tuesday.
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