China has identified dozens of U.S. fresh fruit and nut exports among its top targets for trade retaliation for the Trump administration’s tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum imports on March 23.
The action was announced on a Chinese government website, which said that its first priority list of targeted products includes a 15% tariff on fresh fruit, dried fruit, nut products, wine, modified ethanol, American ginseng and seamless steel pipes. All together, the value of those exports to China is $977 million.
Apples, pears, cherries, strawberries, peaches, plums, almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts are on the list.
Chinese officials said the U.S. tariffs of 25% and 10% on imported steel and aluminum products from China on the grounds of “national security” represent a safeguard measure. Because of that, China said the World Trade Organization will allow it to impose tariffs on targeted U.S. products if the U.S. and China fail to reach a trade compensation agreement within 30 days.
A second list of U.S. exports targeted by China for 25% retaliatory tariffs includes pork and processed products, recycled aluminum and other products, according to the Chinese website. The value of those U.S. exports to China approaches $2 billion, China said.
China said it will impose tariffs on the second list of items after considering the harm caused by U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs. The administration has said there are exemptions from seven export areas, including Europe, Mexico and Canada.
Agriculture and produce leaders were distressed with the trade friction with China, the number-two market for U.S. ag exports after Canada.
“The U.S. Apple Association is extremely disappointed that apple growers have been caught in the crosshairs of what seems will be a trade war between the White House and the Chinese government,” said Jim Bair, president and CEO of the U.S. Apple Association, said in a prepared statement. “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.”
Bair noted that U.S. apple exporters won full access to the Chinese apple market in 2015 and they now ship close to 2.5 million cartons of apples there per year.
“China’s retaliatory response to U.S. tariffs are just the latest chapter in a long and sad story where U.S. apple growers get hurt in a fight we didn’t start and in which we have no interest,” Bair said in the statement. Bair urged the Trump administration and China to resolve the dispute quickly before U.S. apple exports are disrupted.
“Farm income across commodities has fallen by about 50% over the past four years,” American Farm Bureau Federation president Zippy Duvall said in a statement. “Retaliation in the trade arena makes our outlook even worse.”