China suspended tariff concessions on 128 items of U.S. products including pork and fruits starting Monday [2 April 2018], according to the Ministry of Finance. The Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council has decided to impose a tariff of 15 percent on 120 items of products imported from the United States including fruits and related products, and a tariff of 25 percent on eight items of imports including pork and related products from the country, according to a statement posted on the ministry website…Full Article: Xinhua Apr 2018

Key Point

  • On 23 March 2018, the US imposed an additional 10% tariff on aluminum and an additional 25% tariff on steel imports.

ChinaAg Comments

  • On 2 April 2018, China’s Ministry of Commerce imposed additional tariffs on 128 US products. These included an additional 15% tariff on almonds, walnuts, pistachios, oranges, lemons/limes, grapes, raisins, apples, pears, cherries, strawberries, cranberries, ginseng, wine, as well as an additional 25% tariff on pork and offal (e.g. pigs feet, head meat, etc.).
  • In February 2018, China launched anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into US sorghum after the US imposed (January 2018) additional tariffs on washing machines and solar panels. China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) will carry out two investigations relating to sorghum. The first will examine possible US sorghum dumping that occurred from November 2016 to October 2017. The second will encompass imports that occurred from January 2013 to October 2017 in order to determine the negative impact imports had on China’s sorghum industry. The investigations should be finished by February 2019, but could extend to August 2019. During the same month, China’s Commerce Ministry announced it had removed anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on US white-feathered broiler chickens, though a bird flu-based import ban still remained in place.
  • In December 2017, mainland China lowered import tariffs for 187 tariff codes. These tariff codes included frozen Atlantic salmon and huchen (i.e. freshwater salmon) which were reduced from 10% to 5%, while tariffs for live/fresh/chilled rock shrimp and lobsters were reduced from 15% to 5%. Other tariff reductions include powdered or processed cheese (12% to 8%), dry coconuts (12% to 7%), fresh or dry unpeeled Brazil nuts (10 % to 7%), fresh or dry unpeeled cashews (20% to 7%), hydrolyzed milk protein formula (20% to 0%), amino acid formula (20% to 0%), lactose-free infant formula (20% to 0%), whisky (10% to 5%), in-shell macadamias (24% to 12%), pecans (24% to 7%), avocados (25% to 7%), dried cranberries (25% to 15%), meat sausages (15% to 8%), blue cheese (15% to 8%), and mineral water (20% to 10%).
  • In May 2017, China increased its outside tariff-rate quota (TRQ) on sugar. Prior to this, China had a 15% basic duty rate for up to 1.94 million MTs of imported sugar and an outside TRQ of 50%. The TRQ was designed to balance out the price difference between domestic and internationally traded sugar. For instance, in January 2014, the price gap between Chinese sugar in Kunming, Yunnan Province, and US sugar (ICE futures, export prices) was approximately USD 391 per MT. Unfortunately, this price gap has since expanded to roughly USD 664 per MT (as of June 2017). Recognizing that foreign sugar was more than 50% cheaper than domestically produced sugar, the Chinese government increased its outside TRQ to 95% (progressively declining to 90% and 85% in the following years) in hopes of curbing import demand for foreign sugar.
  • In June 2015, China announced that import tariffs would remained unchanged after the country’s 15-year World Trade Organization (WTO) transitional period.
  • In January 2013, China’s Ministry of Finance lowered import tariffs on 784 imported products in order to increase domestic consumption.
  • By 2010, China’s overall tariff level had declined from 15.3% to 9.8% since joining the WTO.
  • In December 2001, China became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). At the time, the USA negotiated a 3% across-the-board tariff for soybean imports.

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