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Garlic Tariff Impacts Gilroy, ‘Garlic Capital of the World'

The escalating trade war between the U.S. and China has many industries very worried on how the tariffs will impact sales of their products and consumers are concerned about picking up the extra cost.

One huge industry that isn’t worried about tariffs is the garlic industry, which could boost business by hurting illegal Chinese exports.

Gilroy, the self-proclaimed ‘garlic capital of the world’ is home to Christopher Ranch, one of the biggest garlic companies in the world and while business is booming, tariffs could actually make it better.

The iconic garlic company employs a thousand workers nationwide and about 800 in the South Bay and while the company keeps busy providing garlic around the country, and overseas, it’s also focused on the upcoming Gilroy Garlic Festival.

"We’re going to be donating about two tons of garlic over the 3-day weekend and we’re expecting 100 thousand people, actually doubling the size, the population of Gilroy over three days," said Ken Christopher, Executive Vice President of Christopher Ranch.

Two tons is not a lot when you consider the company now processes 100 million pounds of garlic a year. Ironically, it first hit that mark 20 years ago, when cheaper, illegal Chinese garlic hit the U.S. and took over in many restaurants and households.

"It changed everything," said Christopher. "There used to be 12 major garlic growers here in America, now we’re down to three and it’s only the three largest that were able to survive the onslaught of Chinese dumping."

In a strange twist, while President Trump’s tariffs on China may hurt many industries, it would force Chinese importers to pay a 10 percent tariff before reaching the U.S.

"Now they’re going to have to pay everything up front, which should help stem the tide of cheap imports coming in," Christopher said.

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