China adds tariffs to U.S. pork

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The Chinese government is adding tariffs on U.S. pork and other products in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum.

The countermeasures affect 128 products together worth about $3 billion, according to an announcement from China's Ministry of Commerce. China is levying 25 percent taxes on U.S. pork and recycled aluminum products, together worth about $2 billion, and 15 percent taxes on a variety of U.S. fruits, nuts, wine, other alcohol products, ginseng, and seamless steel pipes, according to the announcement and information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service.

The U.S. administration proclaimed March 8 that the U.S. needed to impose duties on steel and aluminium to improve national security. A March 24 statement from the Ministry of Commerce for the People's Republic of China alleges that the 25 percent tax the U.S. implemented on imported steel and 10 percent tax added to imported aluminium are protectionist actions taken under a pretense of acting for national security.

China produces almost half the world's pork and consumes more than it produces, according to an October 2017 report from the USDA FAS. The report forecast that, in 2018, China would produce about 55 million metric tons of pork and consume about 56 million.  The U.S. is expected to produce about 12 million metric tons and consume about 10 million.

The European Union supplied two-thirds of the pork exported to China during 2017, according to data published in March by the USDA Economic Research Service. The U.S. supplied about 14 percent, about 166,000 metric tons.

In 2017, Mexico received the most U.S. pork exports, about 32 percent, followed by Japan with 22 percent, Canada and South Korea with 9 percent each, and China with about 7 percent.