The latest tariff hike in the US-China trade war puts a bigger tax on some American-grown almonds and peanuts, as well as toys, chemicals and machinery and condoms shipped to China. But US industry groups are still scrambling to figure out the exact items that will be hit and by how much.
Beijing announced on Monday that it plans to escalate tariffs on $60 billion of US goods on June 1, effectively putting up another barrier between American producers and the Chinese market.
The list of items hit is based on a group of goods that Beijing first taxed in September, some at 5% and some at 10%. But it now creates four buckets within that list, charging a range between 5% and 25%.
Excavators and other machinery are in the top bracket, as are stuffed animals and some kinds of furniture. Also facing a 25% tax: The small number of US-made condoms exported to China each year.
The list gets granular, noting differences between combed and uncombed cotton, for example – making it harder for exporters to track whether their products will get dinged. The latter fell on a previous tariff list, putting a 25% tax on most of American cotton exports to China, according to the National Cotton Council.
Some almonds are hit by the latest tariff hike, depending on how they’re prepared and packaged.
“The new tariffs appear to impact roasted, manufactured almonds. We are working to verify the full impact,” said Julia Adams, vice president of global trade and regulatory affairs at the Almond Board of California. The bulk of almond exports were already hit with tariffs and not subject to a higher rate, she said.
Major trade groups say they haven’t gotten clear guidance.
“We’re not quite sure what chemicals are in each of those buckets yet,” said Ed Brzytwa, director for international trade at the American Chemistry Council. “But our members are deeply worried about this situation.”
To date, multiple rounds of tariffs have been imposed from the United States and China on each other, as the two countries work toward negotiating a comprehensive trade deal. Many American businesses and farmers support President Donald Trump’s mission to address long-standing issues with what they say are unfair trading practices — but using tariffs as negotiating tools can cause pain in the meantime.
“We’re having a little squabble with China because we’ve been treated very unfairly for many, many decades, ” Trump told reporters Tuesday outside of the White House.
“I think it’s going to turn out extremely well,” he added.
The Chinese escalation came three days after the Trump administration raised tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese-made goods. They mostly hit industrial materials and component parts, but also raised the price of luggage, hats and gloves for US importers.
Additionally, the United States started a formal process Monday to put new tariffs in place on the remaining exports coming from China that aren’t already taxed. That could make a number of goods, including iPhones, toys and sneakers, more expensive for American consumers.
The tit-for-tat maneuvering has some industries fretting about their futures.
Peanuts will see a higher tariff rate from China in the June round. Exports to China are already down 90% for the first three months of the year, which is likely due to the tariffs and Chinese production, said Patrick Archer, president of the American Peanut Council.
“China is an important but not critical market for US peanuts. But we do feel like China — because of its growing population an affluence — should be important for our industry in the long-term,” Archer said.
Correction: The headline on this story has been updated to reflect that new Chinese tariffs will strike US exporters.
CNN’s Lily Lee contributed to this report.