After China announced 25% tariffs on roughly $60 billion of U.S. goods such as fruit, nuts and wine on Monday, local experts weighed in on how this could affect Lodi.
With the local wine industry still feeling the effects of the last round of tariffs, San Joaquin County Agricultural Commissioner Tim Pelican said the latest tariffs will most likely only hurt business further.
“I do know that there are some companies that were backing out of their attempts to begin to export to China,” Pelican said. “Tariffs have already hurt the industry, so I can’t imagine that more tariffs will be any better.”
The first round of tariffs began last summer, when President Donald Trump imposed 25% tariffs on Chinese technological products., prompting China to retaliate with 25% tariffs on products such as soybeans, pork, beef and more. The U.S. responded in September with 10% tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods including seafood, bovine semen, chemicals and more.
Dr. Jeffrey Michael, executive director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at University of the Pacific, also feels that the tariffs could mean bad news for Lodi wineries hoping to sell to China.
“China has been one of the fastest-growing markets for California wineries,” Michael said.
Although China accounts for less than 1% of sales for California winemakers, Michael said the tariffs could still pose a significant threat to their business by causing Chinese buyers to look elsewhere for wine.
“I think it’s significant because it’s an area that’s been targeted for expanded sales,” Michael said. “I expect Chinese consumers will shift toward Australian, European or other wines to avoid the tariffs.”
While the tariffs do not bode well for Lodi’s wine industry, Michael does not believe they will have catastrophic effects.
“Hopefully, this will be resolved soon and we can continue our efforts to sell more wine to China,” Michael said.
Joan Kautz, sales and marketing manager for Ironstone Vineyards, said the tariffs will not stop them from shipping an order of their wine to China next week.
“We’re just optimistic that the tariffs will be reduced and end soon so that we can get back to business as normal,” Kautz said.
Chicago Tribune Reporter Robert Channick contributed to this story.