July 2018


Jones College logo

By Country [ Tables ]



Exports Targeted [ Graphs ]


About $1.38 billion of Tennessee's exports are included in the lists of retaliatory tariffs.


Tennessee in the Trade War

How much of Tennessee's exports are caught in the cross hairs?
| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | home |

A trade war appears to be in progress, the first in many decades. China, Canada, Mexico, and the EU have all announced lists of American exports to be targeted with substantial tariffs. Japan is also indicating it is compiling a list, though it has not published one yet.

How much of Tennessee's exports are caught in the cross hairs? Which products are most affected? Let's look, based on this first wave of tariff announcements from these US trade partners.

The first thing to say, luckily, is that the percentage of state exports that are being targeted is still relatively low. About $1.38 billion of Tennessee's exports are included in the lists of retaliatory tariffs. This amounts to just over 4% of total 2017 exports ($33.25 billion). Of course, $1.38 billion is still a considerable amount! A number of industries and firms are going to face a rough trading environment.

Tennessee actually fared better than most of the US. The state's exposure on the Chinese, Canadian, and Mexican lists is less than America's exposure overall. The EU list, on the other hand, is quite the reverse. In percentage terms, that list focuses on almost eight times as much Tennessee trade as US trade. This is all because of one industry, whiskey.

Not surprisingly, the steel and aluminum industries, where the US first imposed its tariffs, are heavily targeted. Over $75 million in steel wire exports, for example, will face steep tariffs, as will Tennessee's $44 million in aluminum alloy plating exports. Beyond that, it's a bit hard to understand which products were singled out.

The biggest Tennessee target is whiskey. Whiskey is on all target lists except that of China. This one we understand: it's to strike at Senate Majority Leader McConnell. Unfortunately for Tennessee, that ploy means that three-quarters of Tennessee's $700 million in whiskey exports will now face increased tariffs.