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President Trump Requests Increase in Tariffs on Chinese Imports to U.S., China Promises Retaliation

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

(North American Meat Institute)

President Donald Trump last week directed his administration to increase proposed tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to the U.S. from 10 percent to 25 percent. The proposed tariffs, if levied, would cover a host of Chinese electronics, textiles, fish, produce, metal products and auto parts. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is accepting public comments on the tariffs and will hold hearings August 20-23 in Washington, DC before publishing a final tariff list soon after August 31. China, in turn, announced it would retaliate with tariffs ranging from five to 25 percent on $60 billion of U.S. imports to the country should the U.S. move ahead with levying tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.

U.S. hides, skins and leather products, which have thus far not been targeted for tariff retaliation by China or any other trading partner, were included in China's proposed retaliation lists. The majority of U.S. cattle hides, wet blue cattle hides and salted pigskin exports to China will likely face five percent tariffs if implemented, though some U.S. hides and skins exports will be subject to the 25 percent rate.

"The Chinese market is not just important for the U.S. hide, skin and leather industry - it is essential to its survival, particularly as formidable competitors finalize free trade agreements that could place the U.S. industry at a competitive disadvantage," U.S. Hide, Skin and Leather (USHSLA) President Stephen Sothmann said in a statement .

U.S. turkey and chicken imports to China are also included on the list, but those products have been banned since 2015.

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