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China Retaliates with New Tariffs on 128 US Imports

China announced Sunday that it is implementing new tariffs on 128 US imports as retaliation against President Trump raising duties on foreign steel and aluminum imports in March.

Additionally, Beijing said it was suspending its obligations to the World Trade Organization to reduce tariffs on US goods.

China’s Customs Tariff Commission is increasing the tariff rate on pork products and aluminum scrap by 25%. It will also impose a new 15% tariff on 120 other imported US commodities, from almonds to apples and berries.

Overall, the new tariffs will hit 128 kinds of US imports. The officials also said earlier that China’s imports of those goods last year totaled $3 billion.

The new tariffs will begin Monday, said the China finance ministry in a statement. Chinese officials had also been warning over the last few weeks that their country would take action against the US.

The US had “seriously violated” the free-trade principles in the WTO rules, according to the ministry.

Various pork products neatly placed on a wood background based on new tariffs
China implements new tariffs on 128 US imports, including pork products

“China’s suspension of some of its obligations to the United States is its legitimate right as a member of the World Trade Organization,” the ministry said.

Further, China’s latest move targets farm areas, many of which voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election. US farmers shipped nearly $20 billion of goods to China in 2017. The American pork industry sent $1.1 billion in products, making China the No. 3 market for US pork.

The US tariff hike “has seriously damaged our interests,” said a Finance Ministry statement.

“Our country advocates and supports the multilateral trading system,” the statements said. The tariff increase “is a proper measure adopted by our country using World Trade Organization rules to protect our interests.”

The new tariffs mirror Trump’s 25% charge on imported steel, and 15% hike on aluminum. Trump’s tariffs are partly a response to complaints that Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.

US and international lawmakers warned the US president against implementing the tariffs, suggesting they could trigger a trade war. Trump, however, said trade wars are “good and easy to win.”

Several countries have since negotiated temporary exemptions from the Trump tariffs.

Washington granted EU, South Korea, and other exporters, except Japan, exemptions to the steel and aluminum tariffs on March 22. European governments had threatened to retaliate by raising duties on American bourbon, peanut butter, and other goods.

Trump to Reveal China Tariff List this week

The Trump administration will reveal the list of Chinese imports targeted for US tariffs this week.

The list of  $50 billion to $60 billion worth of annual imports is expected to target “largely high-technology” products, and it may be more than 2 months before tariffs take effect, officials said.

The US Trade Representative’s office will announce the list on Friday under Trump’s tariff proclamation signed on March 22.

Moreover, US technology industry officials said they expected the list to target products that benefit from Beijing’s “Made in China 2025.” The program aims to upgrade the country’s domestic manufacturing base with more advanced products.

The program targets 10 industries for replacing imports with Chinese-made products. These are advanced information technology, robotics, aircraft, shipbuilding and marine engineering, advanced rail equipment, new energy vehicles, electrical generation equipment, agricultural machinery, pharmaceuticals, and advanced materials.

There have been reports that the tariff list may also include consumer goods such as clothing and footwear. This drew protests from US business groups, which argues that it would raise prices for US consumers.

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