BEIJING – China increased tariffs on 128 products, including pork, in response to the United States imposing higher tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from China.

The Chinese government released the list of affected products late on April 1. Fresh fruits, dried fruits and nut products, wine, ethanol, ginseng, and seamless steel pipes are subject to an additional 15% tariff while pork products, recycled aluminum and other items were slapped with an additional 25% import duty.

Barry Carpenter, president and chief executive officer of the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), said the Chinese government’s decision to levy 25% tariffs on U.S. pork “…will significantly curtail exports to this critical market at a time when China is expanding hog production, pushing domestic pork prices lower.”

“These retaliatory tariffs will disproportionately affect hardworking American pork packers and producers, who will bear the main burden of these measures in the form of lost revenue and restricted market access, particularly as US pork production is slated to rise this year,” Mr. Carpenter said. “It’s clear the future growth of the U.S. meat sector, and agricultural economy, depends upon a robust trade relationship with China — one that adheres to international standards, embraces fair trade, supports American job growth and expands access of high-quality US meat products to a growing consumer base.

“We once again urge the Trump Administration to pursue constructive negotiations with the Chinese government to prevent further escalation of a trade war that will undoubtedly harm U.S. businesses and consumers.”

In March, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) warned that retaliatory tariffs by the Chinese could harm the U.S. pork industry, which exported $1.1 billion of pork products to China in 2017, making it the third largest value market and the second largest volume market for U.S. pork exports.

“We sell a lot of pork to China, so higher tariffs on our exports going there will harm our producers and undermine the rural economy,” said NPPC president Jim Heimerl at the time. “No one wins in these tit-for-tat trade disputes, least of all the farmers and the consumers.

“When it comes to trade, we expect all countries to follow international rules and to trade fairly,” Mr. Heimerl added. “We also expect all countries to resolve trade disputes in a way that doesn’t harm businesses, farmers and consumers.”