More U.S.-China Tariff Salvos

Responding to the U.S. push for higher tariffs on Chinese goods, Chinese officials announced Friday they would impose new tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. products, adding up to more than 5,200 items.

Without giving specifics on the items involved, China said its new tariffs would range from 5% to 25%, and the tariffs would go into effect if the U.S. moves ahead with plans to add a 25% tariff on $200 billion in imports from China.

The Trump administration did not have an immediate response Friday morning.

The new announcement comes after there had been initial plans for talks between the two countries, but Chinese officials made it clear in statements from the Ministry of Commerce and Foreign Ministry that the trade battle is escalating. China’s Foreign Ministry stated the U.S. moves on tariffs are a risk to the global economy.

“The United States has deviated from the consensus of the two sides on several occasions, unilaterally escalating trade frictions, seriously violating the rules of the World Trade Organization, undermining the global industrial chain and the free trade system, substantially harming the interests of our country and the people, and will also include the United States. The world economic development has had a negative impact,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

The Trump administration announced its plans for a possible 25% tariff on $200 billion more in imports on Wednesday with hearings scheduled later this month, ramping up from initial plans for 10% tariffs.

“The Trump administration continues to urge China to stop its unfair practices, open its market, and engage in true market competition,” U.S. Trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer said in a statement on Wednesday. “We have been very clear about the specific changes China should undertake. Regrettably, instead of changing its harmful behavior, China has illegally retaliated against U.S. workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses.”

Lighthizer added, “The increase in the possible rate of the additional duty is intended to provide the administration with additional options to encourage China to change its harmful policies and behavior and adopt policies that will lead to fairer markets and prosperity for all of our citizens.”

The U.S. detailed the possible list of goods subject to possible new tariffs in the Federal Register with the comment period on these measures now extended until Sept. 5. The items listed include a broad array of seafood items from China, as well as other agricultural products such as dairy and vegetable products. Industrial chemicals, including pesticides, are also part of the list, as well as an array of consumer goods. A hearing in Washington is scheduled for Aug. 20. To see the full list of Chinese goods the U.S. is proposing to add tariffs on, visit….

Chinese officials on Friday did not immediately detail the list of other U.S. products that would face additional tariffs. Most agricultural exports from the U.S., including soybeans, pork, fruits, vegetables and nuts, have already been hit with tariffs. Soybeans, the largest U.S. ag export to China, valued at $14 billion last year, were hit with a 25% tariff in July. Pork products now have a 62% tariff because of multiple retaliatory tariffs going back to April.

Both the Trump administration and China’s Foreign Ministry maintain the other country’s tariff actions are illegal.

USTR statement released Wednesday:…

Source: Chris Clayton, DTN

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