China Continues Imposing Tariffs and Non-Tariff Barriers on U.S. Products

Includes: CNY, CYB
by: Howard Richman

The Chinese government has continued its successful policy of imposing tariffs and non-tariff barriers upon U.S. products.

1. In 2009, the Chinese government excluded American products from its catalogs of the products that could be purchased with its consumer subsidies. Through this and other means it reduced imports from the United States despite the growth of the Chinese economy by a reported 8.7%.

2. In February, new Chinese tariffs of up to 105% on American chicken products helped the Chinese government reduce imports from the United States, despite growth of the Chinese economy by a reported 11.9%.

3. On April 13, China's Commerce Ministry announced new duties on a type of U.S. steel used in the power sector.

4. This week, the Chinese government raised its tariffs on some U.S. nylon from 36.2% to 96.5%, The Wall Street Journal's Market Watch reported on April 22:

China's Commerce Ministry imposed a 96.5% duty on certain types of nylon imports from the U.S., more than doubling a preliminary anti-dumping tariff of 36.2% set in October, according to a report by the Xinhua news agency....

The Obama administration lets China practice mercantilism, the strategy of maximizing exports and minimizing imports. In 2009, we bought $305 billion worth of goods and services from China, while the Chinese government only let its people buy $85 billion worth from us (according to preliminary BEA statistics).

U.S. exports to China would increase if the Obama administration were to insist upon balanced trade, as permitted by a special WTO rule for trade deficit countries. He could impose an across-the-board tariff on all Chinese goods whose rate would be kept proportional to the U.S.-China trade deficit. The Chinese government would then take down its many, many barriers to U.S. products.

Disclosure: I own Chinese yuan through CYB