North America

US-China trade war: Idaho may be the biggest victim, but not for its potatoes

Image result for idaho potatoesIdaho is the state most exposed to fallout from the U.S.-China trade war, even though its most famous product, potatoes, has so far been spared from the wrath of Beijing’s retaliatory strikes, according to a new study. China buys Idaho’s frozen potatoes for its fast-food restaurants. In terms of Idaho’s signature crop, the U.S. Department of Agriculture valued the 2017 Idaho potato crop at more than $1.1 billion, or about 23 percent higher than the prior year’s harvest. But when including the processing side of the business the economic impact of the industry is even larger. China and Canada have spared frozen potatoes from tariffs. Both countries are major buyers of American frozen potatoes, primarily for the fast-food industry. “China is the largest export market that we have in the United States for ag products, but that’s not so with Idaho,” said University of Idaho agricultural economist Garth Taylor. “Canada and Mexico, our NAFTA partners, far outweigh our China connections.” Read more