China hits U.S. sorghum with 179% tariff

Sorghum. Photo: Flickr

April 17 (UPI) — China is imposing a 179 percent tariff on U.S. sorghum, worth about $1 billion of imports to China a year.

The measure against U.S. imports comes a day after the U.S. Department of Commerce banned one of China’s biggest tech companies from selling to U.S. firms.

The sorghum tariff, described as a “deposit” in a statement from China’s Commerce Ministry on Tuesday, comes after a preliminary ruling from the ministry that concluded U.S. firms had “dumped” grain sorghum on the Chinese market, causing significant “damage” to domestic producers, Xinhua reported.

The two-month investigation found U.S. sorghum enjoyed government subsidies and the imports hurt Chinese farmers.

The tariff takes effect on Wednesday and importers will be required to pay deposits with Chinese customs at a rate of 178.6 percent.

U.S. exports of sorghum increased from 317,000 tons in 2013 to 4.76 million tons in 2017, according to Beijing’s data.

Sorghum farmers, meanwhile, struggled with a 31 percent decrease in prices, China’s commerce ministry stated.

The decision to hit U.S. sorghum with tariffs does not violate international law, said Wang Hejun, head of the commerce ministry’s trade remedy and investigation bureau.

A day earlier, the U.S. Commerce Department said ZTE, one of China’s biggest tech companies, lied to U.S. officials about taking measures against employees who violated U.S. sanctions against North Korea and Iran before imposing a new U.S. ban on ZTE sales.

“ZTE paid full bonuses to employees that had engaged in illegal conduct, and failed to issue letters of reprimand,” the Commerce Department said in statement.

Beijing is challenging U.S. claims that firms like ZTE violated U.S. law and stole U.S. intellectual property.

“ZTE has a wide range of trade and investment cooperation with several hundred American companies, providing the United States with thousands of jobs,” China’s commerce ministry said Tuesday, according to CNN Money.

The U.S. ban prohibits sales of ZTE parts to U.S. companies for seven years.


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