The garlic farmers who love Trump's tariffs

The president slapped a second round of tariffs on garlic from China this year, boosting demand for the US-grown crop.

"It is untrue that there are no winners in a trade war," says Ken Christopher, executive vice president of California-based Christopher Ranch, the nation's latest garlic producer.

"When President Trump's tariffs for garlic kicked in, it was at that point that California garlic truly became competitive."

US garlic growers have complained since the early 1990s that China was flooding the US with the pungent vegetable, selling it at below the cost of production. This is a trade practice known as "dumping".

The US government investigated, and back in 1994 agreed that some Chinese firms were indeed selling their garlic in the US "at less than fair value".

As a result, any Chinese company found guilty of the practice was hit by a whopping 377% duty. However, Chinese firms soon found ways around these case-by-case penalties, such as by simply setting up new shell businesses.

Mr Christopher likened it to "playing whack-a-mole", and cheap Chinese garlic continued to flood into the US. As a result of this, of the 12 US commercial garlic farms that existed in the 1990s, only three of the largest producers survived.

Today the remaining US garlic farmers say that Trump's tariffs on Chinese garlic are working because they apply across the board and straight away - there is now no way for the importers to get around them.

US tariffs on Chinese garlic were first set at 10% in September 2018, before rising to 25% from May of this year.

Source: BBC News