Chinese officials on Friday announced increased tariffs on a host of U.S. agricultural goods, including a 10% increase on beef and pork. It was the latest salvo in response to U.S. duties on $300 billion of Chinese imports. It also comes as China is forced to increase imports of pork and beef due to African swine fever.
President Donald Trump responded. “We don’t need China and, frankly, would be far better off without them. The vast amounts of money made and stolen by China from the United States, year after year, for decades, will and must STOP,” Trump tweeted.
“Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.”
Reuters reported Trump was meeting with his trade team at midday on Friday.
U.S. pork producers already faced a 62% tariff on their exports, a measure China imposed last year in another retaliatory volley.
In a statement released Friday, Jim Monroe, assistant vice president of the National Pork Producers Council said: “Any escalation in the trade dispute with China is a major concern to U.S. pork producers. China, the largest pork-consuming nation in the world, is seeking reliable sources of pork as it deals with African swine fever. There is no more reliable source than the United States. U.S. pork producers are eager to compete on a level playing field in China and to more fully participate in this unprecedented opportunity. Unfortunately, the current trade dispute prevents us from doing so.”
An escalation of the U.S.-China trade war threatens the global economy, warn analysts. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 600 points Friday (nearly 2.4%) following news of the increased tensions between the world’s two largest economies.
Business leaders said Trump does not have the authority to force U.S. companies to withdraw their businesses from China, and they also warned halting sales to such a large trading partner would further damage American companies and the overall economy.
The new Chinese tariffs range from 5% n to 10% and take effect Sept. 1 and Dec. 15 — the same dates Trump’s latest tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods are slated to kick in.
The Washington Post reported that sales of U.S. exports have decreased at the fastest pace since August 2009. When exports fall, manufacturers typically react by reducing inventories and cutting production, which can lead to job cuts. Airfreight volumes fell nearly 5 percent in June, marking the eighth consecutive month of decline. Freight airlines cited the U.S.-China standoff as a prime reason for slumping demand.