The trade war between the U.S. and China hurts California wine, agricultural industries

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- An escalating trade dispute between the Trump Administration and China could significantly impact California.

Chinese Tariffs announced Monday are being slapped on our wine and agricultural industries.

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Sean Randolph is an expert on international trade and senior director with the Bay Area Council. He says, "Everybody loses in a trade war and that is what we want to avoid from a California standpoint."

He is concerned about California's agriculture and wine industries. China has announced a 15 percent tariff on exports. The state's wine trade with China is small but growing, reportedly increasing 450 percent in the past decade.

Michael Honig says his Napa Valley winery has been making inroads, as Asia's appetite for wine is expanding, especially with younger, more affluent Chinese.

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"We see China and other Asian markets as a great opportunity to grow for future generations, so any type of attack or tariff like that really puts us at a disadvantage," Honig said.

While China's relationship with this state's wine industry is relatively small, almonds, walnuts and pistachio's are huge. Pistachio growers in the San Joaquin valley shipped 140 million pounds to China and Hong Kong last year for an estimated $300 to $500 million in sales.

Richard Matoian is the head of the American Pistachio Growers, which represents 700 growers, primarily in California. He says, "Every year, we've been increasing the amount that we export to China. They have become the number one destination market."

Officials at the Port of Oakland are also concerned. California producers made up more than half of the port's farm shipments last year with China being one of the top export destinations.

Experts say brace yourself -- this is likely just round one in the trade war.

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