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What Trump’s $50 Billion In China Tariffs Mean For Houston

The combination of U.S. tariffs and retaliation by Beijing will eat into Houston’s bilateral trade with China, currently worth nearly $19 billion.

President Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping leave a business leaders event in Beijing on Nov. 9. Trump’s national security strategy acknowledges that some world powers may be both allies and competitors.

China is Texas’ third-largest export market. For Houston, it’s second only to Mexico. So how will the $50 billion worth of tariffs President Donald Trump is imposing on China affect businesses here?

The Houston area did $18.8 billion in bilateral trade with China last year. Patrick Jankowski, senior vice president of research at the Greater Houston Partnership, says anything that reduces trade with China will hurt the region’s economy.

“The danger when the U.S. takes action like this is it creates a tit-for-tat mentality,” Jankowski says. “And I’m sure China will be coming back – they’ve announced that they’re going to come back with tariffs on U.S. exports. And so what that’s going to mean is it’s going to reduce the demand for things we produce here in Houston, which will eventually reduce the output, which will eventually perhaps reduce the number of jobs that are supporting trade in the region.”

Jankowski says the tariffs will ultimately hit consumers in the form of higher prices, and not just on goods imported from China. In Houston alone, more than 1,000 manufacturers depend on imported components to make their products.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas delegations in the U.S. House and Senate, as well as the Texas governorship, the state legislature, and county and city governments. Before taking up his current post, Andrew...

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