China today promised to strike back once again over a planned escalation of U.S. import taxes. The Chinese Finance Ministry announced it will increase tariffs on an additional $60 billion worth of U.S. products if the U.S. follows through with a plan to add tariffs to $200 billion of Chinese goods by September.
China, claiming “serious violations of relevant rules of the World Trade Organization” by the U.S., said it would raise tariff rates by 20 percent to 25 percent on thousands of U.S. goods and also levy new tariffs, according to a translation of the announcement and accompanying lists.
Just some of the wide array of U.S. products on the list include soybean oil, corn oil, hops, formula milk powder, whey protein isolates, canned vegetables, bread dough, chocolate candy, honey, lamb, sweetened almonds, margarine, maple syrup, peas, kidney beans, marshmallows, sweet potatoes, corn bran, waffles and frozen strawberries. Also on the list are alcoholic beverages such as rum, vodka and tequila.
The U.S. exported about $24.5 million worth of soybean oil and $197,000 of corn oil to China last year, according to USDA data.
The retaliation threat comes after sharp words from Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who stressed that the Trump administration’s efforts to force concessions out of China with tariffs would fail.
"We are willing to import more goods from all over the world that meet the needs of the Chinese market,” said Wang, who was quoted by China Daily, a government-supported news outlet. “I think these US enterprises will not give up China's increasingly expanding market."
It was less than a month ago that the Trump administration announced it was hitting China with 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods and promised that would go up to $50 billion.
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That same day – July 6 – China announced an equivalent retaliation with a focus on U.S. farm commodities, including a 25 percent tariff on soybeans, corn, wheat and sorghum. The Chinese retaliation enraged U.S. trade officials, prompting the announcement of a counter-retaliation on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
On Wednesday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced that he was considering raising the tariff rate on the $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent, up from the originally proposed 10 percent.
President Donald Trump has said that another Chinese retaliation like the one announced today would cause him to increase the tariffs yet again on another $200 billion in Chinese products, bringing the total to $450 billion.
“China’s announcement shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone – it’s déjà vu all over again. Every single time we propose new trade barriers, China never fails to do the same,” said Americans for Farmers & Families spokesman Casey Guernsey. “If trade tensions continue to escalate at this rate, the U.S. and China will inevitably hit a point of no return – upending access to one of the biggest customers of American products in the world and causing irreparable damage to our livelihoods, families and economy.”
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