US-China trade war intensifies with additional tariffs on selected US products

CHINA – China’s State Council Tariff Committee (SCTC) has announced additional tariffs on selected US products set to impact roughly US$2 billion in U.S. food and agricultural exports, cites USDA.

Despite the fact that it affects most food products, dairy remains unaffected after the US Dairy Export Council signed a new agreement on March 30 aimed at increasing exports, reports FoodIngredientsFirst.

Also, the tariffs do not include soybeans, a major export from the US.

Majority of the targeted products were food and agricultural products, totalling 84 out of the 128 tariff codes including fruit, tree nuts, wine, ginseng, denatured ethanol, pork and pork products.

This is a retaliatory action against U.S. 232 Trade Action that would likely affect China’s 2018 imports worth US$50 billion.

China stated that taking this action was justified under the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Safeguard Measures.

The State Council Tariff Committee of China suspended tariff reduction obligations on 120 imported commodities covering fruits and wine at the rate of 15% and 25% on imported pork and pork products.

China had earlier announced in March that it would impose tariffs on US$3 billion worth of U.S. fruits, nuts, pork and wine in protest against Trump’s steel and aluminium tariffs.

“According to the relevant provisions of the WTO Agreement on Safeguard Measures, China has formulated a list of suspension of concessions.

If China and the United States fail to reach a trade compensation agreement within the stipulated time, China will exercise the right to suspend concessions for the first part of the product.

China will implement the second part list after further evaluating the impact of the US measures on China,” said a statement from China’s Ministry of Commerce.

Based on what President Trump termed as a matter of ‘national security’, his administration reached the decision to impose the tariffs in what they perceived as unfair trading practices in China which have culminated in a sizeable trade deficit.

China tariffs will most likely affect pork producers in the US who exported almost US$6.5 billion of pork last year, China being third largest value market after receiving more than US$1 billion in pork exports from US last year.

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