China’s Finance Ministry announced today the country will raise tariff rates on $60 billion worth of U.S. products, an expected trade war escalation after the U.S. increased import taxes on Chinese goods Friday.
The Ministry said tariff rates will rise at the beginning of June on more than 5,000 U.S. goods, including farm commodities such as citrus fruit, berries, vegetables and nuts, according to the translation of a ministry announcement.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, following up on pledges from both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, told reporters Saturday that USDA will begin work on a new trade assistance package for farmers and ranchers if China retaliated.
“China has indicated they plan to retaliate,” Perdue said while attending a G-20 ministerial meeting in Japan. “If they do, President Trump is committed to support our producers who may be harmed by retaliatory efforts of China.”
Less than a month ago, optimism was running high in the U.S. that an agreement would soon be reached to end the yearlong trade war with China, but that fell apart after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin returned from talks in Beijing.
China, Lighthizer announced, had reneged on core promises it made during the talks. He also announced he was raising the tariff rate from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. That increase went into effect Friday while a Chinese delegation was in Washington for talks.
Neither side has announced an end to the talks, but the U.S. and China are digging in.
“I say openly to (Chinese) President Xi (Jinping) & all of my many friends in China that China will be hurt very badly if you don’t make a deal because companies will be forced to leave China for other countries,” Trump said in one of many tweets on China this morning. “Too expensive to buy in China. You had a great deal, almost completed, & you backed out!”
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, who led the trade delegation to Washington last week, also expressed a desire for a deal, but an unwillingness to compromise on some issues.
“Cooperation is the only right choice for the two sides, but it has to be based on principles,” Liu was quoted as saying by Xinua News, a government-supported operation. “China … will never make concessions on major issues of principle.”
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