There's been a lot of talk about the total collapse of soybean sales after Trump imposed tariffs on over $250 billion in Chinese goods, prompting China to retaliate against American agriculture, but it's far from the only crop that has been harmed by Trump's trade war.
According to customs data reviewed by Reuters, sales of American cherries that were previously exported to China have dropped by nearly 90 percent and, as you might have guessed, our loss has been been someone else's gain.
American cherries are slowly being replaced by cherries grown in Uzbekistan.
May was the last month for which figures were available at the time of writing, typically the first big month in China’s cherry import season. Supplies from Uzbekistan leapt to nearly half of the May total, Reuters’ calculations show, from zero a year earlier, while the U.S. share of the cherry import pie shrank to 38% from nearly 80% in May 2018 - and a near monopoly in May 2017. [...]
For Victor Wang, the China representative of U.S. Northwest Cherry Growers, it’s now a case of trying keep head above water.
Wang said it took 17 years of marketing and government lobbying to help make U.S. cherries some of the most coveted fruits in China - at one stage his suppliers were even exporting more to China than across the border to Canada. But that all changed in 2018, when two rounds of Chinese tariff hikes added 40 percentage points to import charges.
Seventeen years of hard lobbying to develop a market that Trump wiped out in one afternoon in 2018.
Trump's trade war will eventually end, either when a new president is elected or he simply gets bored with it, but not all of the damage can be undone. China and the other nations Trump's has picked fights with will not immediately resume all of their previous purchases in equal volume and some of them may never. American exporters will have to provide foreign importers with good reasons why they shouldn't permanently replace their American suppliers.
I believe it should be a priority of the next president and Democratic Congress to rewrite the trade laws of the mid 20th century so that no future president can abuse their powers the way Trump has. The ambiguity of a Cold War-era law intended to allow President John F. Kennedy to block dangerous imports from Cuba has allowed Trump to start trade wars in 2018 and 2019 by baselessly claiming that your cheap sneakers are a threat to "national security."