China implements tariffs on U.S. produce imports
China has made good on its proposal to implement tariffs on a range of U.S. horticultural imports, with a 15% duty coming into effect today (April 2).
The Chinese Finance Ministry said the move was in response to the U.S. raising tariffs on steel and aluminum on March 23, but a bigger trade dispute looms over U.S. President Donald Trump's desire to impose tariffs on at least US$50 billion in Chinese imports.
The ministry published a statement dated April 1 instructing customs officials to today being levying additional tariffs on top of any existing duties on 128 types of U.S. products, including a 15% tariff on most fresh and dried fruits and nuts.
The list includes apples, table grapes, cherries, citrus, strawberries, almonds, pistachios and walnuts.
China’s Customs Tariff Commission is also increasing tariffs on pork products and aluminum by 25% as well, for almost US$3 billion total exports.
The situation is likely to have a significant impact on the upcoming U.S. cherry deal. Last season, China surpassed Canada as the Northwest cherry industry's leading export market, receiving around 12% of total production.
The U.S. apple industry also ships around 2.5 million boxes of fruit to China, having regained full market access in 2015 after protracted negotiations.
“The U.S. Apple Association (USApple) is extremely disappointed that apple growers have been caught in what seems will be a trade war between the White House and the Chinese government,” the group said in a statement after the tariffs were proposed.
“With apples being included on China’s list of retaliatory tariffs, U.S. growers face losing an important and expanding export market, to which access was a hard-fought battle.”