China raises tariffs on US pork, fruit in trade dispute

1065
SHARE

The tariffs “signal a most unwelcome development, which is that countries are becoming protectionist,” said economist Taimur Baig of DBS Group. But in commercial terms, they are “not very substantial” compared with China’s $150 billion in annual imports of U.S. goods, he said.

Monday’s tariff increase will hit American farm states, many of which voted for Trump in 2016.

Beijing is imposing a 25 percent tariff on U.S. pork and aluminum scrap and 15 percent on sparkling wine, steel pipe used by oil and gas companies, and an array of fruits and nuts including apples, walnuts and grapes.

American farm exports to China in 2017 totaled nearly $20 billion, including $1.1 billion of pork products.

There was no indication whether Beijing might exempt Chinese-owned American suppliers such as Smithfield Foods, the biggest U.S. pork producer, which is ramping up exports to China.

The U.S. tariff hike has “has seriously damaged our interests,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

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