4 American losers in the U.S.-China trade war

Digital Originals

For some time now, the U.S-CHINA trade war has been dominating headlines. With no end in sight, we decided to take a look at some of the American industries – and companies – hardest hit by this economic crisis.

CGTN’s Joshua Barlow reports on just FOUR of America’s biggest losers in the ongoing US-CHINA trade war! (So far…)


China loves its seafood, especially Wild Alaskan Salmon and Lobsters from Maine.

Unfortunately, as a response to the Trump administration’s tariffs in 2018, China imposed a 25 percent tariff on 170 seafood items exported from the U.S.

These tariffs have hit U.S. fishing states hard.

In Alaska, China accounted for over $800 million worth of seafood exports in 2017.

And,in Maine, exporting live lobsters to China was a boom industry worth more than $133 million in 2017.

But, since the tariffs took effect, both states have seen exports to China drop by 20 percent – That’s about $186 million in economic losses.

Meanwhile, much of North America’s lobster business has shifted to Canada – which has no trade battle with China.

Pork Farmers

In 2018, China levied a whopping 62 percent tariff against U.S. pork imports.

As a result, Iowa, the top pork producing state in the U.S., predicts it will lose $18 a head, or $800 million in lost sales by July 2019.

Meanwhile, back in China, a combination of increased soy feed costs due to tariffs on the U.S. – as well as an outbreak of African swine fever – has caused farmers there to send at least 1 million pigs to an early slaughter.

Harley Davidson

Speaking of hogs… Because of the trade war, this American Icon got hit with a double whammy in 2018:

First, U.S. tariffs on its supply of Chinese steel and aluminum / cost the company an extra $20 million in production costs.

Second, China’s 25 percent tariffs on U.S. motorcycles cost the company an estimated $3 million in lost sales.

Add to that, separate trade disputes with the European Union led the EU to levy its own 25 percent tariff on U.S. motorcycles – adding an estimated $2,200 per bike – which some claim cost Harley Davidson $25 million in lost sales in 2018.

All in all, Harley Davidson says it lost about $48 million – 94 percent of its profits – due to tariffs on both trade fronts in 2018.

Soybean Farmers

First, it should be noted that Soybeans are primarily used to feed livestock. SO… As China’s population has grown – so has their demand for Soybeans.

For years, China accounted for up to 60 percent of U.S. soybean exports. But, since China slapped a 25 percent tariff on U.S. oilseed, that number has dropped to near zero.

While the Trump administration has provided subsidies to farmers, and China agreed to make nominal soybean purchases in January, most of China’s current soybean purchases have shifted to Brazil.

As a result, much of last year’s crops, normally earmarked for China, have been sitting in storage, or rotting away in fields.


While some progress has been made between the U.S. and China, the long term winners AND losers of this trade war – are still hard to predict. The only certainty is that, before it’s over, there will be more casualties to count – on both sides.