Previewing the North Carolina Primary: Tariffs Deserve Significant Attention

As we prepare for the upcoming North Carolina primary, it is important to keep in mind the detrimental effects that tariffs have had on North Carolinians. 

As data from Tariffs Hurt the Heartland reveals, North Carolina taxpayers have paid $1.2 billion in additional tariffs since the trade war with China first began. 

Democratic presidential candidates cannot ignore the negative impact that the trade war has had on North Carolina’s economy. Trade supports over 1.2 million jobs in the state, and 63,500 jobs could be lost if tariffs are not lifted.

Tariffs are taxes paid for by North Carolina families, farmers, businesses, and communities, and industries across the entire state are bearing the costs. Agriculture, which is the largest sector of North Carolina’s economy, has been hit particularly hard, with exports of tobacco and soybeans sharply declining. 

In November, NPR reported that the trade war with China is particularly hurting tobacco farmers in North Carolina. Brian Leggett, who has grown tobacco for 15 years, said: 

“I don’t know of a grower in North Carolina that has a plan for next year. Survival is the plan right now.”

Without tariff relief, farmers will continue to lose money from some of North Carolina’s most important industries. 

Despite the recent Phase One Trade Agreement between the U.S. and China, problems still persist. China is one of North Carolina’s largest export markets, making trade relations with China a vital part of the state’s economy. According to a story in the News and Observer, the trade war has “decimated” the export market in North Carolina. In 2017, North Carolina tobacco farmers exported $162 million in crops to China, but in 2018 that number dropped to $4 million.

As Larry Wooten, farmer and president of the N.C. Farm Bureau said about the impact of the trade wars:

“The damage is deep and it’s ongoing.”

It’s time for every candidate to commit to removing all tariffs that remain in place and finally bring an end to the trade war that is devastating the economy.

If you are interested in speaking with someone about the trade war and how it is hurting North Carolina residents ahead of the primary, please contact