The addition of coal to the list of more than 650 items facing higher tariffs came as a shock to Chinese steel mills and trading firms that just last month were encouraged by Beijing to buy more U.S. coal to narrow the trade gap, four sources with knowledge of the plan said.
Although 545 items on the list face higher tariffs starting July 6, Beijing did not specify when coal and the other remaining items would be hit.
But coal’s presence on the list has sent shudders through the market.
“I am really worried. I haven’t found buyers interested in these cargoes now,” said the manager of Shanghai Runhe International Trade Co, which has three shipments of U.S. coking coal en route to China.
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