Ag Today March 23, 2018

China responds to Trump tariffs with proposed list of 128 US products to target

Nyshka Chandran | @nyshkacThe world’s second-largest economy has responded to President Donald Trump’s controversial trade tariffs.

China’s commerce ministry proposed a list of 128 U.S. products as potential retaliation targets, according to a statement on its website posted Friday morning.

The U.S. goods, which had an import value of $3 billion in 2017, include wine, fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts, steel pipes, modified ethanol, and ginseng, the ministry said. Those products could see a 15 percent duty, while a 25 percent tariff could be imposed on U.S. pork and recycled aluminium goods, according to the statement.

The statement did not go into greater detail. U.S. agricultural products, particularly soybeans, have been flagged as the biggest area of potential retaliation by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s administration.

Beijing will take measures against the 128 U.S. goods in two stages if it cannot reach an agreement with Washington, the ministry said, adding that it could take legal action under World Trade Organization rules.

Asian stock markets took a dive on the news, with Japan’s Nikkei index sliding as much as 4 percent.

The Friday response from Beijing is relatively measured, experts told CNBC.

The decision to target $3 billion in U.S. imports is significant, “but it’s not a lot in terms of the total U.S.-China relationship,” said economist Tony Nash, who is CEO and founder of data analytics firm Complete Intelligence.

Chinese imports from the U.S. are expected to hit $172 billion this year, he pointed out.

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