China Halves $75 Billion Worth of Tariffs
UNITED STATES - Yesterday afternoon, China announced that it would halve tariffs implemented in September of last year. These tariffs were placed on hundreds of U.S. goods worth about $75 billion. The statement on China’s Ministry of Finance website reads that the move stems from the desire to “advance the healthy and stable development of China-U.S. trade.” An official list of which categories China will be cutting has yet to be released, so we cannot say for certain who in the industry will be affected by this change.
ANUK reached out to the industry to hear how and why this move is a critical turning point.
“Western Growers is pleased to hear of China’s action to ease some of its retaliatory tariffs,” stated Tracey Chow, Western Growers Association’s Federal Government Affairs Specialist. “After nearly two years of substantial export losses and paralyzing market uncertainty, our fresh fruit, vegetable, and tree nut farmers welcome the positive step taken with this announcement, in conjunction with the earlier signing of the U.S.-China phase one agreement. As we continue to state, we desire a rapid, full resolution that will result in all of the retaliatory tariffs being lifted and our markets being restored.”
Richard Owen, the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) Vice President of Global Membership and Engagement, added, “PMA is pleased to see the $75 billion in reduction of tariffs announced today by China. These cuts will go into effect on February 14th, the same day the U.S. will implement their own tariff cuts on Chinese imports. Today’s announcement basically cuts in half the additional tariffs that China imposed in September and December. Fruit and nuts from the U.S. were included in those rounds, so this could be significant to U.S. suppliers. The first round of tariff increases from earlier in 2019 remain.”
Richard added that PMA was encouraged to hear the Chinese commit in the same announcement to eventually remove all the tariffs that were imposed since the trade war begin.
“This announcement should encourage U.S. exports to China, which have been weakened by the coronavirus outbreak and the timing of the Chinese New Year. There have been no large-scale U.S. farm sales to China in 2020, no doubt at least partially a result of the outbreak,” he noted.
Ian LeMay, President of the California Fresh Fruit Association, also welcomed the latest advancement in ending the tit-for-tat tariff war.
However, Ian also advocated for more action, and soon, asserting, “This recent announcement on the reduction of Chinese tariffs was welcomed news for our industry and for the California Fresh Fruit Association’s membership. The announcement was a good step forward, but no one should be confused—this act alone is not enough to stir or reinvigorate the market on its own. We, of course, were happy to see some of the commodities on the initial list were fresh produce, but many categories are still heavily impacted. To really have a viable market back into China, we need to see more significant reductions. We are hopeful that this is the first of many announcements dealing with tariff reductions."
AndNowUKnow will continue to follow along as more news of how this affects produce continues to come to light.