Billions in Chinese tariffs went into effect Friday, and Louisiana industries are bracing for what could be a rocky ride. A recent Forbes report showed Louisiana as the most at risk state for negative effects from tariffs due to its export and shipping based economy.

Port of New Orleans VP Robert Landry says the Chinese tariffs on steel will have ripple effects throughout all economies that rely on Mississippi River shipping.

“When you take steel out of the equation it increases the cost of everything made with steel and you increase the cost of exporting US agriculture products which makes it le4ss competitive on the world marketplace.”

Landry says right off the bat, he expects hours to be cut back at the port for the men who load and transfer goods from international shipping barges

“The most immediate impact will be felt on the docks that are typically importing steel cargo. You will see the number of hours worked by longshoreman being reduced.”

Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson also expressed concern about the tariff’s impact on the state’s economy. He highlighted the damage that could be inflicted on Louisiana’s agriculture industry that ships massive qualities of goods overseas.

“With more than 8.3 billion in agriculture, a lot of that in soybeans, our farming and agriculture economy is going to be hit hard.”

But Pierson cautioned against any knee jerk reactions. The secretary says the state has experience weathering economic storms that are out of its control, and says they’re prepared to deal with the economic impact, but he says he does hope it wraps up soon.

“This is still playing out, and there’s a long way to go but we would like to see this wrapped up sooner rather than later because the uncertainty is working against us.”

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