Impacts of steel and aluminum tariffs already felt in West Michigan (Holland Sentinel)

The June 10, 2018 edition of the Holland Sentinel includes a comprehensive look at trade issues and their impact on West Michigan. Jim Byrum, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association, is interviewed for this story.

From the Holland Sentinel:

Potential retaliatory tariffs from other countries placed on West Michigan agriculture exports are a concern as well moving forward, said Jim Byrum, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association.

"We export agriculture products like pork, corn, soybeans and a variety of other products, fruit products like cherries, blueberries, we export those all over the world," Byrum said. "We are so known and so visible with our agricultural exports, when countries look at retaliation for tariffs they don't want imposed on them, they look at United States agriculture exports as the area to retaliate."

Mexico and China in particular have threatened significant tariffs on pork products in response to President Trump's decision, Byrum said.

In West Michigan, soybean production is a key to the local agricultural industry. Should retaliatory tariffs be put in place, Byrum said the soybeans might have to be shipped to places other than Mexico, Canada or China.

In the agricultural world, a key component in the export world is building relationships and agreeing to long-term contracts, so finding new trading partners may be difficult.

"What we are finding is that customers are shying away from long-term commitments and looking more to hand-to-mouth or just-in-time supply for some of the commodities we sell here because there is so much uncertainty in the marketplace," Byrum said.

Read the whole story, courtesy of the Holland Sentinel, here.