Monday, March 26, 2018

Chinese retaliate against Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum with levies on pork, fruit, wine, ethanol, ginseng

DTN/The Progressive Farmer photo
After President Trump imposed tariffs on $60 billion in Chinese steel and aluminum exports last week, China immediately responded with tariffs on $3 billion in U.S. exports that could hurt rural Americans, Jerry Hagstrom reports for DTN/The Progressive Farmer.

China will impose tariffs on more than 100 products, including a 25 percent tariff on pork, and 15 percent on fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, wine, modified ethanol and American ginseng. "Missing were vulnerable prey like aircraft and soybeans, which experts say may come next if tensions continue to build," Natalie Kitroeff reports for The New York Times. "China is the United States’ third-largest export market, and a top destination for agricultural goods harvested in Trump strongholds."

National Pork Producers Council president Jim Heimerl of Johnstown, Ohio, told Hagstrom that "We sell a lot of pork to China, so higher tariffs on our exports going there will harm our producers and undermine the rural economy . . . No one wins in these tit-for-tat trade disputes, least of all the farmers and the consumers."

"Worries over a looming trade war have already hit Iowa pork producers' pocketbook to the tune of $240 million from falling prices, and the damage will likely grow," Donnelle Eller reports for the Des Moines Register.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer sent a letter to their Chinese counterparts last week suggesting that they were willing to negotiate on tariffs, if China agrees to cut the tariff on U.S. autos, buy more U.S. semiconductors, and give U.S. firms more access to the Chinese financial sector, Reuters reports. Word of that helped stock markets open higher today.

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