China ups tariffs on US seafood to 35%

By Aug. 23, 2019 


China will add 10% tariffs to imports of US seafood products as of Sept. 1, taking the total to 35%, in the latest escalation of the trade war between the two economic superpowers.

All the main products the US sells to China (see a list Undercurrent News put together here) — such as salmon, cod, lobster, crab, squid and pollock — are on the list from China’s finance ministry for additional tariffs from Sept. 1. These all went to 25% last year unless a Chinese processor is importing to process and re-export.

The ministry said current exemptions will remain in place, suggesting companies will still be able to import raw material for processing and re-export.

In total, the additional tariffs — not only on seafood — apply to $75 billion in imported goods. Soybeans, one of the main products the US sold to China before the tariffs and an ingredient for aquafeed producers, will also be hit with the additional tariff.

In a series of tweets a few weeks ago, US president Donald Trump indicated that his administration was on the verge of applying a 10% tariff to salmon, cod, Alaska pollock and a previously exempted style of haddock imported from China.

Then, on Aug. 13, the US government said it’s delaying plans to impose an additional 10% tariff on Alaska pollock products imported from China until Dec. 15.

Additionally, fillets of salmon and cod — as well as a custom code applying to small volumes of haddock — all appeared on a May list published by the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), but no longer appear on updated lists of proposed Chinese goods that will be tariffed at 10%.

One year after tariffs, China’s imports of US seafood down 36%

According to the USTR’s “List 4B” published Aug. 13, planned tariffs on three types of pollock fillet products — that pertain to the customs codes 0304.75.10, 0304.75.50 and 0304.94.10 — will be delayed until Dec. 15 along with a long list of chemicals, clothing, electronics and household items, among others.

Dive in US seafood sales to China

In July, Undercurrent reported the tariffs of 25% have hit imports of US seafood to the tune of $340m since they came into effect, according to the latest Chinese customs data.

Chinese imports of US seafood fell from $1.3bn in the 12 months prior to tariffs (July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018), to $969m in the twelve months after (July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019), Chinese import data shows, underlining the heavy impact of weaker demand for US seafood subject to tariffs, while poor catch of US wild-caught seafood was also to blame. The biggest drop was of Chinese imports of US live, fresh American lobster, which fell from $176m to just $25m, a decline of 86%, data shows.

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