Monday, April 02, 2018

China slaps tariffs on 128 goods; could hurt rural U.S.

In response to President Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum, China announced Sunday that it will retaliate with tariffs on 128 U.S. goods starting today, ranging from agricultural products like fruit, wine and pork as well as manufacturing products like modified ethanol and stainless steel pipes, as they had threatened to do last month. In introducing this story this morning, NPR said "a lot of these products are produced in rural or working-class areas" that Trump won in 2016.

Most items on the list have a 15 percent tariff on most items on the list, but pork and scrap aluminum will carry a 25 percent tariff. "Beijing said it was suspending its obligations to the World Trade Organization to reduce tariffs on U.S. goods," Scott Neuman reports for NPR, on the grounds that "the U.S. had 'seriously violated' the free-trade principles in the WTO rules."

U.S. agricultural interests worry that the Chinese tariffs will hurt American farmers, since China is a major destination for U.S. pork. The steel and aluminum tariffs may also hurt rural areas that depend on manufacturing. China did not play all its cards; for example, it did not impose tariffs on U.S. soybeans (one-third of which go to China) or sorghum.

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