China added tariffs ranging from 15 to 25 percent to U.S imported goods last Monday – another step in what has been regarded as a budding trade war between the two nations.
President Trump responded to this measure the next day with a detailed list of about $50 billion worth of tariffs set to be placed on imports from China.
The extent to which the tariffs implemented by China will affect the U.S economy is uncertain. A large portion of the goods named by China are agricultural products including walnuts, bananas and apples.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, in 2016, California ranked as the tenth largest state in the production of agricultural goods. For local producers, this raises questions of how their thriving market could be affected by China's decision.
"The current path of tariffs and trade wars is sure to result in tremendous harm to California agriculture and future wine exports," said John Aguirre, president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers, in a press release on March 23.
Wine ranked as California's second most valued export in 2016, according to a study published by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. A large portion of these exports are funneled in to Chinese and East Asian buyers.
"Last year, California wine exports totaled $1.28 billion, with China and Hong Kong accounting for nearly $145 million of that total," he said.
The reliance producers have on China, a growing market for wine products, has growers from across the state concerned over the long-term effects of increased tariffs on goods.
"China is one of the fastest growing wine markets in the world and will soon be second only to the US in value," read a press release by the Wine Institute on March 23.
The advocacy group for California wine producers noted that tariffs open doors to foreign competition, which "could result in lost market share for years to come."
For the almond industry, Chinese tariffs pose a hurdle to California's dominance as global exporters.
The Almond Board notes that China and Hong Kong were the second largest export market for California almonds in the 2016-2017 fiscal year. The addition of new tariffs, however, open competition to countries such as Australia – the world's second-leading almond producer, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
The danger of these tariffs is lessened when industries have less of a dependency on Chinese markets.
California strawberries, for example, only recently opened trade with China a few years ago. Therefore, the impact these tariffs have in overall production is "a very small sliver," according to Carolyn O'Donnell, communications director for the California Strawberry Commission.
Strawberries, which now face an additional import tax of 15 percent, are the tenth largest agricultural import for California.
The difficulty in transporting strawberries overseas to places such as China make it difficult to develop a large global presence. Places such as Canada and Mexico, reachable by ground transport, act as more frequent buyers for the California strawberry industry.
Overall, whether or not these industries will be largely influenced by tariff policy is unclear in the short-term.
"California will be affected, but probably not much, for the time being," said Kar-yiu Wong, a professor of international trade at the University of Washington.
Wong believes that, for now, California producers have little to worry about regarding the Chinese import taxes.
"In the long run the impacts will be more, as suppliers from other countries will try to fill in the gap and drive some California products out of the China market," Wong said.
While California agricultural producers face varying risks from tariffs, the extent to which the U.S will heighten its trade skirmishes with China remains unknown.