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China slaps sanctions on 128 US imports in retaliation for aluminum, steel tariffs

Worker stand in a steel workshop in Zouping, in China's eastern Shandong province on March 10. China has announced that it will impose tariffs of its own in response to U.S. tariffs on Chinese aluminum and steel. (AFP/Getty Images)

In response to U.S. tariffs on imports of Chinese aluminum and steel, China is slapping tariffs of its own on a list of 128 American-made items worth around $3 billion in trade annually. The Chinese government has been clear that these tariffs are in direct retaliation to those imposed by the U.S.

One of the hardest hit commodities will be pork. Last year Americans sold $1.1 billion worth of pork to China, which is the third largest market for American pork exports. Under the new guidelines, pork will be hit by a 25 percent duty.

Other goods hit by the tariffs include apples, cherries, walnuts, almonds, strawberries, watermelon, grapes, and sparkling wine. Most imports will be hit with a 15 percent tariff, while pork and aluminum scrap will be hit by a 25 percent tariff.

On March 1, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would impose a 25 percent global tariff on all imports of steel, and a 10 percent tariff on all aluminum imports. After this announcement, more than 100 Republican members of Congress signed a letter criticizing the decision.

In a statement, the Chinese government said that it was implementing these duties “"in order to safeguard China's interests and balance the losses caused by" the U.S. tariffs. While the China has expressed a willingness to negotiate, it also warned that it was ready to “fight to the end” if necessary.

China isn’t the only nation threatening to retaliate with tariffs of its own. As soon as the tariffs were announced, the European Union threatened to impose tariffs on a list of American-made products ranging from bourbon to blue jeans to motorcycles. Since then, the E.U. has been given a temporary exemption from the tariffs, until a new trade deal can be negotiated.

Canada and Mexico have also been given a temporary reprieve, until NAFTA can be renegotiated. Trump promised that if a new version of NAFTA is signed, “there won’t be any tariffs on Canada and there won’t be any tariffs on Mexico, but warned that “if we don’t’ make a deal on NAFTA,” the tariffs would go into effect. Argentina, Australia, and Brazil also got temporary exemptions, while South Korea got a permanent exemption but have its imports limited by quotas.

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