Virginia could feel impact from president's plan for higher tariffs

Agriculture, construction industries could face challenges

By Brittny McGraw - Anchor

BLACKSBURG, Va. - President Donald Trump continues to move forward with a plan to impose higher tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, and one Virginia Tech agricultural and trade expert said it could negatively impact Virginia and other states that export a lot of agricultural goods.

"The tariffs are likely to do more damage than the support that they provide for the steel and aluminum sectors," said Jason Grant, an associate professor at Virginia Tech and director of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Center.

Grant said other countries often retaliate in the face of tariffs like the ones the president plans to implement. European leaders have already threatened to raise import duties on American bourbon, peanut butter, orange juice and cranberries.

"Agriculture is often the innocent bystander that gets brought into these trade disputes," Grant said.

Grant said that could be a big concern for Virginia farmers, because they export about $3 billion worth of farm products around the globe.

"This will impact Virginia," Grant said.

Grant said the higher tariffs on aluminum and steel could impact domestic construction industries, the oil and gas sector, and local craft breweries that rely on aluminum cans.

He is concerned that this could disrupt global trade.

"I think the worry is that we're going to undermine the multilateral cooperation we've achieved since 1947," Grant said.

The tariffs are expected to take effect before the end of the month.

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