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Trump's trade war beginning to pinch Tennessee exports


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  A mid-state economist says Tennessee’s $32 billion annual export market is beginning to feel the effect of the Trump Administration’s trade wars. 

Middle Tennessee State Economist Steven Livingston says Tennessee’s exports did grow slightly in the third quarter, but rose at a pace well below the national average.


Livingston says medical instruments, heavy machinery, and automotive exports were all down. However, he says those sectors were hit by market forces that had little or nothing to do with trade.


For example, he says Americans are buying fewer small cars and that’s having an impact on Tennessee.


“It’s hit us a little worse than some other automotive states because the stuff that’s still selling best is trucks and SUVs, but the Volkswagen plant and the Nissan plant…that’s not their big thing.”

On the other hand, Dr. Livingston says some declines in Tennessee exports can be attributed to tit-for-tat tariff exchanges between the U.S. and its trading partners. For example, he says Tennessee’s once sizeable silicon exports have all but disappeared, and that’s not all.


“Soybean exports out of the state have dropped like a rock. Hybrid vehicles which actually was a big export for Nissan to China have collapsed. You know, electric cars, that sort of thing.”

Livingston says he fears the drop in Tennessee exports will be much more pronounced by the end of the current quarter.


On the plus side, he says some of the state’s small to medium sized exporters are doing surprisingly well.


Would you like to review Dr. Livingston’s Global Commerce report?