Fitch Analysis: Idaho May be Biggest Victim in U.S. / China Trade War 

click to enlarge GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
While President Donald Trump's trade war escalates, triggered by a series of tit-for-tat tariffs with Canada, the European Union and China, CNBC reports that Idaho may be the biggest victim of the U.S./China standoff.

An analysis from Fitch Ratings, a nationally-recognized statistical rating organization, reveals that Idaho tops the list of states with "the highest bilateral trade exposure to the U.S./China trade war."  China is a regular customer of Idaho dairy products, alfalfa hay and nonfarm goods such as semiconductors.

Using data from the Commerce Department's U.S. Census Bureau and International Trade Administration, Fitch Ratings measured the overall trade exposure of all 50 states to China as a percentage of gross state products, or essentially the state's GDP. They also looked at the total amount of imports and exports of the various states involving China, as a percentage of the state economy.

click to enlarge PXNIO CC0
According to Fitch's director of U.S public finance Michael D'Arcy, Idaho was one of only four states where bilateral trade with China is 2 percent or more of state GDP. The others are California, Georgia and Tennessee.

"Approximately one-quarter of Idaho's exposure is in computer and electronics products while plant and animal products also contribute," D'Arcy told CNBC.

A 2017 report from the University of Idaho confirms that Idaho's agriculture industry is by far the biggest single sector of the state's economy and directly or indirectly responsible for about 16 percent of the state's total GDP.
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