In response to the Trump administration's latest trade moves aimed at China, President Xi Jinping will target states that strongly supported Trump during the 2016 election -- in particular levies on agricultural exports from Trump-supporting states.
The plans are part of a strategy that has taken shape in recent weeks as Beijing 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.
“Any Chinese response to new U.S. tariffs would be measured and proportional,” said a Chinese official involved in policy-making.
The White House plans to announce punitive measures against China on Thursday, including tariffs on at least $30 billion in imports. Those are in addition to the steel and aluminum tariffs taking effect Friday.
The Journal reports that soybeans, sorghum and live hogs will be among the top products affected, as the U.S. is one of China's top suppliers of such goods.
Beijing is also weighing concessions including easing restrictions on foreign investment in securities firms and insurance companies, they said.
News of potential counter-tariffs continues to worry the farming industry.
“Bottom line, we’re terrified,” said Brian Grossman, a market strategist at Zaner Group in Chicago who used to farm in North Dakota. “It’s not going to be good for the American farmer.”
After The Wall Street Journal reported the possible Chinese counter-tariffs on Wednesday, shares of Bunge Ltd. , the world’s largest soybean processor, declined 0.9%, while Archer Daniels Midland Co. fell 1%. ADM and Bunge are two of the world’s largest soybean shippers, and China is far and away the world’s biggest buyer.