Trump’s Trade Battle unsettles local Bradenton Business Owner

The Chinese government announced a new set of tariffs on American goods upwards of $60 Billion dollars on Monday, according to The New York Times. The tariff increase is reportedly in response to the Trump Administration’s $200 million dollar tariff hike on imported Chinese goods.

John Wong runs Wong Kai Imports in Bradenton, a family-owned specialty store of ethnic food products that he has owned for the last 38 years.

From Chinese pork buns, hard-to-find vegetables, teas, and condiments, Wong Kai import’s ethnic food goods from China and other Asian countries for retail and wholesale customers.

Despite the good business he has received of late, Wong claims that he is already witnessing the negative impact on local businesses due to the potential trade war with China.

“This lady I talked to today, and it hasn’t even started yet, her container is coming in is already 25 percent on top of normal before she paid for it,” Wong said.

“It’s not right,” he added.

Wong Kai Imports Owner John Wong speaks with a customer. (Photo: Alex M Buono)

Wong is not alone in his concern, as media reports reflect this week:

  • The Washington Post reported the fears expressed by U.S soybean farmers are witnessing the effects of stalling exports to China.
  • We’re Freaked.” CBS News quoted the official statement by the American Apparel Association in response to the prospect of retail price hikes.

In 2016, Wong voted for the president.

Going into 2020 as of this moment, he’s lost confidence in the president’s ability to focus on the plight of the American people, equating his dispute with China to a petty family squabble.

“The way I look at it is, you are helping the people of the United States, and now you are trying to, you know, ‘you don’t do this for me, I’m not going to do that for you’,” Wong said. “It’s like a sibling, your kid, your brother and sister.”

Wong Kai provides a plethora of ethnic food goods as a supplier for local restaurants. (Photo: Alex M Buono)

The potential impact of Trump’s potential trade war and immigration focus having a chilling effect on Asian-American voters are already being felt according to Vox.com’s Li Zhou, where exit-poll data indicated a 77 percent increase in Asian-Americans who voted for Democratic house candidates in the 2018 midterm election.

President Trump continued his justification via Twitter on Tuesday with claims that the 25 percent increase on imported Chinese and foreign “dumped” steel will help save the American auto industry.

In one year Tariffs have rebuilt our Steel Industry – it is booming! We placed a 25% Tariff on “dumped” steel from China & other countries, and we now have a big and growing industry. We had to save Steel for our defense and auto industries, both of which are coming back strong!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 14, 2019

Despite President Trump’s continued hostile tone on the web, John Wong hopes that cooler heads will prevail.

“This trade war, hopefully both sides talk about it,” Wong said. “Not just the United States and China, but the whole world.”

For more information and updates on products from Wong Kai Imports, visit their Facebook page.

County Fair Unites Manatee while the US Government Shuts Down

The Manatee County Fair wrapped up its final weekend of festivities at the county fairgrounds in Palmetto, hosted by the Manatee County River Association. The fair promised “Good Food, Good Rides, Good Times” one last weekend for fairgoers to usher in 2018, even as early Saturday morning marked the beginning of the federal government shutdown following the one year anniversary of Trump presidency on Friday, according to CBS News. Despite these recent national events, fair organizers were optimistic in how the fair unifies Manatee County in times of adversity.

“There’s folks from every corner of this county that are involved with the fair,” said fair manager Daniel West, 48. “That’s what makes the fair so special, it’s almost like a homecoming for Manatee County.”

According to Manatee County Supervisor of Elections, President Trump won 56 percent of the Manatee County vote in the 2016 general election. A recent Florida Atlantic University Poll reported in a November 2017 Palm Beach Post article placed the president’s approval ratings in the state of Florida at 41 percent, slightly higher than current national average of 39 percent according to Gallup Poll featured in a January 16 Associated Press article.

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Fairgoers were enjoying the warm weather after the bitter cold snap in early January. (Photo: Alexander Michael Buono)

“The government shut down nationally doesn’t affect me as much as the issues locally,” said Jason Drane, 39, a media professional and supporter of the president from Bradenton, who visited the fair along with his wife Gloria, 38, and two foster children.

“While we may not be shutting down the county government, we need to do some overhaul of some of the facilities are county does use, such as Centerstone, DCF and the various child welfare agencies,” Drane said.

“Otherwise these kids have no hope,” Gloria added.

The county fair has an enduring legacy when the nation has faced difficult times. In its 102 years of offering amusement for Manatee, the fair survived a loss of funding during the Great Depression and the brief discontinuation during the years of World War II according to the Manatee River Fair Association website.

“It means a lot to our county,” said West. “I think that we’re going to finish this weekend out with a bang and I think everybody is going to be real pleased with our turnout.”

For more information about the Manatee County Fair, click here.