What A Trade War With China Could Mean For US Manufacturers

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China yesterday imposed tariffs on 128 USA imports worth US$3 billion, including fruit and pork in retaliation against United States duties on steel and aluminum that Beijing said "seriously infringed" on Chinese interests. The U.S. and China have also started preliminary talks at reaching a resolution. Some experts say this tariff news might not affect the company too much; pork exports to China have already decreased.

"There's not a lot booked past May now and there's a fear they are not going to book anything forward", a USA ethanol trader said of China. Nationally, more than $660 million in pork - including "variety meats" like ears, hooves and organ meat - was exported to China a year ago, according to Tamara Nelsen, senior commodities director for the state farm bureau.

"China's suspension of its tariff concessions is a legitimate action adopted under WTO rules to safeguard China's interests", the Chinese finance ministry said.

Monday's tariff increase will hit American farm states, many of which voted for Trump in 2016.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the top economic official, told US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a phone call last month that the IP investigation violated worldwide trade rules and Beijing was "ready to defend its national interests".

None the less, Chinese officials said the new tariffs were designed "to protect our country's interests and balance the damage created by the USA 232 measures".

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Trump ordered US trade officials to bring a WTO case challenging Chinese technology licensing.

Economist Taimur Baig with DBS Group said the sanctions are "not very substantial" when considering the $150 billion worth of goods the USA still ships to China, including $20 billion in food supplies.

China previous year represented a $460 million market for US fruit and tree nuts, and growers of products from cherries to pistachios fear a possible reduction in export volumes or prices as a result of retaliatory tariffs.

US stocks fell sharply on Monday after China imposed tariffs on more than 100 products.

Last month, a US official cited as "hugely problematic" Beijing's sweeping plan to create Chinese competitors in electric cars, robots, advanced manufacturing and other fields over the next decade.

It is unclear whether the USA and China can reach an agreement on trade before the US enacts the Section 301 tariffs.

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USA imports had recently picked up after prices fell enough to be attractive even with the high duties. In his view, what he calls flawed trade agreements and sharp-elbowed practices by China and other trading partners are in part responsible for America's gaping trade deficit - $566 billion past year.

The US said it imposed tariffs because of the intellectual property theft of American companies by China. "This is the first of many" penalties aimed at Chinese goods, the president said as he signed the order.

Among the states that likely will be hit hardest by Beijing's tariffs are Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and IN, along with others like North Carolina and Oklahoma, all big pork producers.

"This will deal a heavy blow to Washington that aggressively wields the stick of trade war and will make the U.S. pay a price for its radical trade policy toward China", the Global Times wrote. Last year, United States exporters shipped 473,225 metric tons of seafood to China, worth more than $1.3 billion (€1.1 billion).

China said late on Sunday it will slap an extra 15 per cent tariff on ethanol imports from the United States, part of its response to U.S. duties on aluminium and steel imports.

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