China imposes tariffs on 128 US products, escalates trade war

The imposition tariffs by Beijing are in response to the 25% on duty on steel and 10% on aluminium.

The Dollar Business Bureau

In retaliatory action against the duties on aluminium and steel by the US, China has imposed new tariffs of up to 25% on 128 US products ranging from frozen pork to wine and certain fruits to nuts, escalating the fears of a possible trade war between the two largest economies of the world.

The imposition tariffs by Beijing are in response to the 25% on duty on steel and 10% on aluminium that have been levied by the President Donald Trump, according to a statement by the Chinese Finance Ministry on Sunday.

However, Trump has temporarily excluded imports from the countries such as European Union, Brazil, Canada, Argentina, Australia, South Korea and Mexico. 

Over the past few weeks, Chinese officials had been giving warning that China would take retaliatory actions against the US.

“The US products, having an estimated import value of around $3 billion in 2017, include wine, steel pipes, fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts, ginseng and modified ethanol,” the ministry said.

Those products could be imposed with a 15% duty, whereas a tariff of 25% could be levied on import of pork and aluminium scrap, with effective from April 2, the statement said.

“Beijing will take measures against the 128 US goods in two stages if it cannot reach an agreement with Washington,” the Ministry said.

“China’s suspension of its tariff concessions is a legitimate action adopted under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules to safeguard China’s interests,” it added.

While Beijing’s action was tied to Trump's aluminum and steel tariffs, it could lead to hit the US farmers and ranchers. American farmers exported around $20 billion worth of products to China in 2017. The US pork industry shipped around $1.1 billion of goods to China, making the country the No. 3 consumer of American pork.

President Trump has repeatedly criticised China against its huge trade surplus over the US and also promised to slash the deficit during his election campaign. 

In late March, Trump took additional measures toward slapping tariffs on $60 billion of Chinese imports and to limit Beijing’s ability for investing in the US technology sector. Trump has also accused China of trade practices and abusing trade rules that led to the closing of 60,000 American factories and loss of 6 million US jobs.

The Dollar Business Bureau - Apr 02, 2018 12:00 IST