China Targets American Farmers With Sorghum Surcharges

BEIJING—China’s Ministry of Commerce said it will impose surcharges on imports of U.S. sorghum, part of Beijing’s tit-for-tat retaliation in its trade fight with Washington.

The ministry said Tuesday that it would require importers to pay deposits worth 178.6% of the value of U.S. sorghum shipments, following an investigation that initially found the grain was being dumped at prices that hurt domestic producers.

It said its ruling, taking effect from Wednesday, is preliminary, and a final ruling to determine an anti-dumping tariff ratewill be made at an unspecified later time. It added that U.S. sorghum imports to China increased 14 times between 2013 and 2017, while the price decreased 31% during the same period.

The ministry also said it wants to reduce trade disputes with the U.S. and “together safeguard trade cooperation.”

Employees cool steamed sorghum ahead of fermentation at a distillery in Guizhou province in December. Photo: Qilai Shen/BLOOMBERG NEWS

China has said it will match the Trump administration’s trade actions against Chinese goods measure for measure. Particularly targeted by Beijing are products from farm states that voted for President Donald Trump.

China launched the anti-dumping investigation into U.S. sorghum in February, after Washington placed tariffs on imports of Chinese-made solar panels and washing machines. American sorghum, which is used in animal feed and in China to make liquor, is also on a separate target list of tariffs on goods worth $50 billion.

U.S. sorghum exports to China peaked at $2 billion in 2015 and have averaged nearly a $1 billion a year over the past two years, according to official U.S. data. That makes it a sizeable export—though well below soybeans, more than $12 billion of which were sent to China last year.

—Grace Zhu

Source Article