President Donald Trump’s new tariffs on Chinese agricultural products are likely to hurt a lot less than the retaliatory tariffs Beijing levies on the U.S.
The White House, while delaying tariffs on big-ticket consumer products until December, decided to push ahead with 10-percent tariffs on Chinese agricultural products as well as antiques, clothes, kitchenware and footwear from Sept. 1. The list ranges from the exotic — live primates, whales and foxes — to the more usual fare of milk and edible oils.
But the amount of farm products China exports to the U.S. is much smaller than what it imports from America, even with the retaliatory tariffs in place. China shipped $3.1bn worth of farm goods to America in the first half of this year, while it purchased $5.6bn of U.S. agricultural items over the same period, according to Chinese customs data.
One area where Beijing may feel some pain is in textile exports. The material is already subject to U.S. tariffs and shipments have been falling, according to an industry trade agency. Sales of garments to the U.S. fell 19 percent in the first half of this year and will drop further as more textile products have been included in the fresh U.S. tariffs, the trade group said. This could hurt China’s cotton imports, which were revised down by China’s agriculture ministry this week.