China Slaps 179% Tariff On US Sorghum Hours After US Bans Exports To China's ZTE

In response to reports that the US is ramping up the "third front" in its trade spat with China by authorizing another investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 - this time, aimed at obstacles that prevent US tech firms from competing in cloud computing and other high-tech industries - China has, as we anticipated, retaliated by slapping tariffs on US sorghum imports.

Yesterday, the US also revealed that it would stop US tech firms from selling components to Chinese telecom giant ZTE after accusing the company of lying during settlement negotiations - eliciting an angry response from Chinese officials, who urged US lawmakers to create a "fair, just and stable legal and policy environment" for Chinese companies, according to Xinhua.

Like Chinese tariffs on US pork products that were imposed earlier this month, the sorghum tariffs aren't merely a threat: Rather, China says they will take effect on Wednesday, per Bloomberg.

US sorghum imports will incur a 178.6% tariff, China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a preliminary ruling on Tuesday. Wang Hejun, chief of the trade remedy and investigation bureau at the Ministry of Commerce, said the tariffs comply with domestic law and World Trade Organization standards.

The ruling follows a probe into Sorghum imports that began in February after Trump slapped tariffs on imported solar panels and washing machines - a decision that was viewed as an indirect slight at China.


The tariffs come as a shortage of domestic grain has forced domestic feed mills to increase shipments of US grain. Yet, despite the shortage, analysts say the tariffs will force some shipment cancellations.

"The rate is quite high and some buyers may have to cancel shipments," said Li Qiang, chief analyst with Shanghai JC Intelligence Co.

China imported about 4.8 million metric tons of sorghum from the US in 2017, worth about $957 million (this number isn't a coincidence, we imagine). Purchases in the first two months of 2018 were 11% lower than a year earlier.

According to Bloomberg, after the tariffs were announced, soybean meal for September delivery on the Dalian Commodity Exchange climbed 2% to close at 3,265 yuan ($520) a ton. The most-active contract climbed more than 2.5 percent in the final 20 minutes of trading.

"Market participants might translate the temporary deposit of sorghum as the start of a new round of trade disputes between China and the U.S., triggering concerns over soybeans," said Monica Tu, an analyst at Shanghai JC Intelligence.

China said earlier this month that it planned to levy an additional 25 percent tariff on about $50 billion of U.S. imports including soybeans. The move matched the scale of proposed U.S. tariffs announced a day earlier. The U.S. is allowing 60 days for public feedback and hasn’t specified when the tariffs would take effect, leaving a window open for talks.

Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China's Foreign Ministry, which has been one of the vocal mouthpieces for trade-related issues, said during the regular press briefing in Beijing that China is ready to impose trade countermeasures, and that, despite the US sending "confusing" signals about currency manipulation, the country is continuing to move ahead with its reforms.

The news hasn't impacted US equity markets so far. But that could change as more US equity traders arrive at their desks.


DownWithYogaPants HopefulCynical Tue, 04/17/2018 - 09:25 Permalink

This does not pencil out. 

They sell 600 billion more than they import and yet they do this?  Either they are

  • trying to bully the USA which is good enough reason alone to go uncooperative and start fighting them on trade
  • or if China is controlled by the banking cartel they told them to hit Trump with this 

I can not think of a plausible reason why their actions are reasonable or logical.  

In reply to by HopefulCynical

Oldwood DownWithYogaPants Tue, 04/17/2018 - 09:51 Permalink

The whole point of this from China's perspective is THIS, here and now....the delicate position we find ourselves...AFRAID to respond, to defend ourselves.

After decades of biting on the good deal, the something for nothing, we find ourselves extremely leveraged to the negative. The job situation bad, our ability to choose long term sustainability over short term survival ever more challenged.

This is going to hurt, but if not now, when?

When we are 100% dependent, 100% OWNED, not just by a oligarchy or fascistic government, but a totalitarian COMMUNIST one that guarantees we will NEVER see the slightest glimmer of liberty or CHOICE again?

In reply to by DownWithYogaPants

tion DownWithYogaPants Tue, 04/17/2018 - 11:44 Permalink

Some of the people that had been occupied making cheap shit may need to go back to smallhold farming. These seemingly nonsensical countermeasures may help position China to increase their own resilience as well.


I recently watched this film called Broken Limbs: Apples, Agriculture, and the New American Farmer and would recommend it to any farmer. If the debt/credit freezes up again, a lot of monoculture farms will likely need to rethink their relationships with debt, industrial inputs, supply chains, and end consumers.

In reply to by DownWithYogaPants

Dilluminati wwwww Tue, 04/17/2018 - 08:34 Permalink

let them buy it elsewhere and then currency manipulate that market instead.

I'm sure rising prices and less capital reserves are the cure for china instead of fair trade.

their precocious attitudes are enough already~

let them buy it elsewhere, the markets are ubiquitous and they will screw somebody else while the US engages instead in trade

somebody selling sorghum somewhere will realize the hooray for me screw you nature of the Chicom and PLA industries

In reply to by wwwww

tion FireBrander Tue, 04/17/2018 - 12:23 Permalink

Just as cheap globalized manufacturing destroyed many people’s livelihoods, so too did cheap industrialized-ag imported food that cost less than food could be grown locally. That combined with local specialty crops being exported out to the highest bidder, has contributed to decreased food resilience and security in many places. Now is as good a time as ever for people to start exploring alternatives to ‘needs’.

Anyways, I have no idea what sorghum syrup tastes like. This article reminds me that I need to find out ^^

In reply to by FireBrander

kaboomnomic Dilluminati Tue, 04/17/2018 - 10:21 Permalink

Funny shit. China main staples? RICE. Then WHEAT.…


And which countries produce most rice? here,…


And which countries produce the biggest wheat's? Here,……



Funny shits.. It is nice to see, how you still think with your ass, instead of your brains. (which probably as big as baby huey brains)

In reply to by Dilluminati

zebra77a divingengineer Tue, 04/17/2018 - 09:33 Permalink

There are no shortages of food anywhere. Just mismanagement.

Growing power succeeded in greenhousing a million pounds of food on three acres in 1 year (fish plus)

That's 950 lbs of food a DAY PER ACRE.

To supply 5 lbs of food per DAY to every single Chinese member would only take 22000 sq km, 0.2% of their current land mass.

Nobody needs to ship anything anywhere. We just need to develop the automated greenhouse.


In reply to by divingengineer

HenryHall eforce Tue, 04/17/2018 - 14:15 Permalink

Yep, they will get by. Global warming is helping improve food crop harvests in the artic. Russia, Canada, Alaska (if there even are any farmers in Alaska?).

Land in Russia on which it was possible to grow only buckwheat will now allow wheat to be grown.

In reply to by eforce

Killdo Philo Beddoe Tue, 04/17/2018 - 08:45 Permalink

nobody will ever miss American shit GMO food designed to be hyper-palatable so to create addiction (full of GMO corn syrup, cheapest fat and salt) 

That's the only business model the US of AIPAC knows of - get people addicted on some shit and then sell it to them for as much money as possible (and spend as few pennies as possible making it with the very cheapest ingredients you can find). 


In reply to by Philo Beddoe

just the tip Killdo Tue, 04/17/2018 - 15:46 Permalink

you are full of shit.

read this link dumbmass.  it's from russia.  about their genius, and chief hypocrite Bagrat Sandukhadze.  he says everything GMO and then says it is not GMO.  this is the same shit, and rationalization i read 40 years ago when they were preaching GMO here.  if it walks like a duck, if it looks like a duck, and it makes little ducks, it's a duck.

This wheat can grow in any weather due to its special genes and durability. It is frost-resistant, resistant to disease and has a unique grain quality and good baking qualities.

“The quality of food grains in Russia has significantly decreased. There are new diseases in the grains."

he goes on and on about breeding this in, and breeding that out, and changing this and that.  and oh yeah, it's not genetically modified.…

In reply to by Killdo