Beijing retaliates against USA with 25% tariffs on US$60bn worth of US goods

Beijing announced on 13 May that it would raise tariffs to as high as 25% on US$60bn worth of US goods in retaliation against the USA increasing 10% tariffs on US$200bn worth of Chinese products to 25% on 10 May.

A total of 5,140 US products would be subject to additional tariffs of 5%, 10%, 20% and 25%, starting on 1 June, the finance ministry in Beijing said in a Reuters report.

A list of 2,493 US goods would be subject to a 25% tariff including food products such as honey, spirits and virgin olive oil, peanut oil, soyabean oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil and sesame oil.

Other goods attracting a 25% tariff included building materials, consumer goods, transport, electronics, natural resources and chemicals.

“China’s adjustment on additional tariffs is a response to US unilateralism and protectionism,” the finance ministry said. “China hopes the US will get back to the right track of bilateral trade and economic consultations and meet with China halfway.”

The USA and China have been engaged in a trade war since last year, with USA accusing China of discriminatory policies relating to technology and intellectual property.

On 6 July, the USA imposed 25 tariffs on US$34bn worth of Chinese imports containing industrially significant technologies. China responded by slapping on 25% tariffs on the same value of US products, including soyabeans.

In September, US 10% tariffs on US$200bn worth of Chinese imports came into effect including oils and fats products such as soyabean oil, sunflowerseed, rapeseed, animal fats and oils, and various oilseed flour and meal. In response, China imposed 25% tariffs on a wide range of US food products including several edible oils.

The countries reached a 90-day truce on 1 December but Trump tweeted on 5 May that negotiations between the two countries were proceeding too slowly.

As well as the USA raising tariffs to 25% on the US$200bn worth of Chinese goods on 10 May, the country is also planning to apply 25% tariffs on a further US$325bn worth of Chinese goods.

Meanwhile, the American Soybean Association (ASA) warned that US farmers could not withstand another year in which their most important foreign market continued to slip away and soyabean prices were 20-25% below pre-tariff levels.

“The USA has been at the table with China 11 times now and still has not closed the deal, said ASA president Davie Stephens. “What that means for soyabean growers is that we’re losing. Losing a valuable market, losing stable pricing, losing an opportunity to support our familes and our communities. The sentiment out in farm country is getting grimmer by the day. Our patience is waning, our finances are suffering and the stress from months of living with the consequences of these tariffs is mounting.”