Let’s face it. All disputes are pretty nuts, but this one ALSO involves fruit and wine! The Chinese government implemented new tariffs last week on 128 U.S. products worth $3 billion, including nuts, fruit and wine, in retaliation for a U.S. increase in tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, which took effect in March.
According to news sources, since then, the two sides have vowed to hit back with countermeasures, with China unveiling plans to impose a 25 percent duty on 106 additional U.S. imports, including agricultural products such as soybeans, corn, cotton, sorghum, beef, tobacco and orange juice. Those are set to take effect in June.
Jim Zion, managing partner of Meridian Growers in Fresno County, said “We’ve told customers that we’ll work with them. But working with them means that we’re either going to have to renegotiate—because these costs obviously weren’t a factor when we made the original contract—or divert to another country. Worst-case scenario is we bring it back to the United States if they say, ‘We can’t afford to buy this product with these additional duties in place.'”
Zion said his company will now “double up” its marketing efforts in the U.S., Southeast Asia and Europe, but noted that “buyers around the world see what’s going on” and know that if China is not buying as much, it means the U.S. has more supply and will want a lower price.
There’s also the issue of where to import these items, because location in China can be quite a big deal since Hong Kong has traditionally operated as a “tax-free” zone for imports according to sources.
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