China has announced US$60bn worth of tariffs on various US goods, including cocoa oil and confectionery, that it intends to implement as retaliation after the USA imposed 25% tariffs on US$200bn of Chinese products.
The implementation date of the tariffs would depend on US reaction and China warned that the trade war “would then reach new heights”, reported Bakery and Snacks on 7 August.
China’s finance ministry said the import taxes would range from 5% to 25% and affected a total of 5,207 products, many of which were related to agriculture.
Products facing a 25% tariff included cocoa oil, butter and powder, confectionery processing machinery, cocoa powder, raw cocoa beans, chocolate, bread, toast, cocoa products weighing more than 2kg and various other agri and processed foods.
Flax seeds, confections without cocoa, baked goods, pastry dough, sausages, caramel and gum were included in the category facing 20% tariffs.
In the 10% category were, among other, palm nuts, peanut butter and sugar-added cocoa powder, while xylitol was facing a 5% tariff.
Despite the tariffs, US consumer packaged goods (PCG) companies said they had not yet been “unduly affected” by the escalating trade war between China and the USA, according to Bakery and Snacks.
Hershey spokesman Jeff Beckman said the firm was watching the issue closely but did not expect China’s tariffs to have a significant impact on its business.
“We do not export products made in China to the USA and most of the products we sell in China are made in China or in the region. Most of the products we sell in the USA are made at one of our eight US manufacturing plants,” Beckman explained.
Mars Wrigley said the company was disappointed to see new trade barriers coming into force.
“We support the rules-based trading system promoted by the World Trade Organization, supplemented by free trade agreements. Any new tariffs effectively result in a tax on manufacturers, farmers and ultimately consumers,” a Mars spokesperson said.