Beijing prepares to deliver pain to President Trump’s support base, including with tariffs targeting agricultural exports
China is preparing to hit back at trade offensives from Washington with tariffs aimed at President Donald Trump’s support base, including levies targeting U.S. agricultural exports from Farm Belt states, according to people familiar with the matter.
The plans are part of a strategy that has taken shape in recent weeks as China seeks to avert tariffs by warning of possible repercussions and offering incentives to the U.S., including better access to China’s markets, especially in the financial sector.
China’s President Xi Jinping has taken this carro
.. China is likely to target U.S. exports of soybeans, sorghum and live hogs
.. The U.S. is among the top suppliers of these products to China, which imports around a third of soybeans that the U.S. produces
.. Any duties to be levied by China on those products would depend on how broad-based the U.S. tariffs are on Chinese imports, and plans could change based on what the Trump administration proposes, these people said.
Beijing is also weighing concessions including easing restrictions on foreign investment in securities firms and insurance companies, they said.
.. At the meeting, Commerce Ministry officials sought the companies’ views on the effects of scaling back U.S. agricultural imports, the people said. Since then the companies have been lining up alternatives sources—for soybeans, for instance, countries including Brazil, Argentina and Poland.\
.. At the same time, China plans to extend an olive branch to the U.S., which has been calling for better access to China’s markets. The opening could include scrapping foreign-ownership limits on Chinese brokerages and insurers, they said.
.. U.S. and other Western officials have often treated Beijing’s market-opening pronouncements with skepticism, saying hurdles have risen despite similar pledges in the past. Early last year, for example, it promised U.S. credit-card companies “full and prompt” access to China, but so far none has been given a green light.
.. The administration officials countered with a far-reaching proposal, the people said, for China to eliminate subsidies for state firms and take other measures
.. China has other measures besides agricultural tariffs in its arsenal, including
- diverting large orders for aircraft and other goods away from U.S. manufacturers and
- slowing the wheels of bureaucracy in approving operating licenses, or even
- targeting U.S. companies with antitrust investigations.