Tariffs, Trade Wars and What They Could Mean for Michigan

“I haven’t heard anyone say we’re doing the right thing by escalating a trade war.”

Farm Agriculture Tractor Big Red Apple Orchard

Jake Neher/WDET

President Donald Trump says he’s not afraid of a trade war with China. But there are several groups sounding alarms and raising concerns about that possibility.

The stock market was sent reeling as investors lost confidence in the market, with economists warning a trade war could send the economy into a recession, and agricultural businesses expressing alarm at losing a major source of business — exporting to China.

That includes many Michigan agribusinesses, including cherries, apples, and soybeans, as well as the auto industry.

Dustin Walsh, a reporter for Crain’s Detroit Business, joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to talk about his recent reporting on how the proposed tariffs could affect Michigan industries

“We certainly want stricter IP (intellectual property) protections. The issue is that no one believes tariffs are the right way to accomplish that goal,” he says. “I haven’t heard anyone say ‘we’re doing the right thing by escalating a trade war.”

Tom Watkins is president of the consulting firm TDW & Associates. He has done a lot of work in China and written about the country over the past three decades. He joins Detroit Today from China to talk about the Chinese perspective on these issues. He says that America and Michigan have much to learn from China. 

“The thing China is investing in is what we should be investing in in Michigan and the United States…education, workforce development, infrastructure,” says Watkins. “We have to invest in things that are going to make the American people and Michigan people strong going forward.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.


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