VT professor explains what tariffs mean for you

Economists say President Trump is close to starting a trade war with China. (MGN)

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WSET) -- Just the threat of a tariff has made stocks plummet, and economists say it could get worse- that America is on the brink of a trade war with China.

The tariffs started with the United States, talking about a tax on steel and aluminum.

Then, China came back with a list of products valued at about $3 billion.

Then back to America, with the White House threatening a tariff on intellectual property. That is valued at about $50-60 billion.

The latest has China threatening a tariff on quite a few different items, especially those produced in the mid-west, which voted for President Trump in the 2016 election. One of the biggest is soybeans, which is American's number one agricultural export.

How will America respond? That's something economists are waiting to find out.

"That's the million dollar question. That's the real worry in this. If we go into a full scale trade war. And nobody wins then. Farmers lose consumers lose.," said Virginia Tech associate professor Jason Grant.

Trump claimed the original tariff was imposed to help American steel and aluminum workers.

However, with China fighting back, it means higher prices for you. Take soybeans for example. Soy is in almost everything we eat. If costs for the farmer go up, then bread, cereal crackers, hot dogs, spices- you name it. The price on all of them could go up for you.

None of the United States tariffs will go into effect until at least May because of a public comment period. Grant says if you don't like or if you like the tariffs, you should make a public comment, because this will impact every American.

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