China tariff increase could affect local beef sales

WACO, Texas - China is proposing a tax increase on imports which could cost you more at the grocery store, saying it's a direct response to tariffs President Donald Trump placed on exported steel and aluminum last month. 

More than 100 products are targeted. 

Waco Custom Meats and Seafood says they buy 150 cases of 15 pounds of meat per week. They say beef is their best seller, and their business could be affected if prices go up.

"We buy beef trim by the 40,000 pound load, so we go through beef trim more than anything," says Vice President of Waco Custom Meats and Seafood Brian Bauer. 

The marketplace opened recently, and is keeping an eye on the dollar sign. They hope China won't mark up the taxes. 

"On the beef side, our prices do change often. So we'll see what the tariff's hold for us, but we are still going to do as best as we can to produce the top quality product," Bauer says. 

Texas Farm Bureau says China is their number two customer, and any move could drastically affect farmers. Except when it comes to beef - since China typically relies on their own cattle. 

"These kinds of prices are always going to be readjusting with the supply. So if we have tariffs, you can expect the prices to go up. But I wouldn't expect anything catastrophic," says Texas Farm Bureau Director of Communication Gene Hall.

Right now, Bauer says they are still trying to redeem from the March tariff change involving seafood. 

Prices for the Vietnam Pangasius Catfish went up more than a dollar. 

"I'm having a hard time buying just what I need, so I'm having to buy more frequently," said Bauer. 

The Texas Farm Bureau says cotton would be the biggest product at steak if there is a tariff increase, affecting Central Texas farmers the most. 

China buys over 70 percent of United States cotton. 

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