Retaliatory tariffs from China could cost the United States about 31,500 jobs in the food and agriculture sector, according to a Trade Partnership Worldwide study.
The study indicated that there would be a total of 495,000 job losses across the U.S. if retaliatory actions are taken, with food and agriculture sector accounting for over 31,000.
According to the study, based on the latest available data (2016) and taking into account both the gains and the losses trade supports nearly 36 million U.S. jobs. This means that nearly one in every five U.S. jobs is linked to exports and imports of goods and services.
Already, hog farmers in the US have found themselves in the centre of the trade war with China, after the country unveiled 25 percent tariffs on pork in response to U.S. tariffs on steel.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced tariffs on $60 billion (£42.5bn) worth of Chinese goods, with Beijing responding with retaliatory tariffs on goods including pork, fruit and wine.
Pig farmers were largely reliant on export markets, selling off more than 26 percent of production last year with about $1billion worth going to China, according to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).
A U.S. group, Farmers for Free Trade, called the 25 percent hike in tariff a tax on American farmers ‘brought about by protectionist trade policies’.
Max Baucus, the co-chair said American farmers were the first victims of an escalating trade war as farm incomes were already declining while farmers rely on export markets to stay above water.
“These new tariffs are a drag on their ability to make ends meet,” he said, urging the Government to de-escalate both the trade rhetoric and actions.
“Exports are extremely critical to the financial well-being of our producers. Over the past 10 years, the United States, on average, has been the top exporter of pork in the world, and we’re the lowest-cost producer. In any given year, we export pork to more than 100 nations, and those exports support 110,000 American jobs,” the NPPC said.
The NPPC was however, hopeful that the tariffs would be short-lived since officials from the US and China were in dialogue over an agreement.