Tensions between the US and China broke out into a full-scale trade war this week as the US announced a third round of import tariffs on goods from China. This latest batch imposes a 10% import duty on US$200 billion of goods from China (effective from 24th September). The first two rounds earlier this year imposed 25% tariffs on US$50 billion of goods imported from China. China retaliated each time with its own punitive import duties on US products, such as cotton, soybeans, wine, fruit and beef. The latest round of US duties means that around 44% of China’s exports to the US now have excess duties imposed.
Until now the products included in the first two rounds of import duties by the US did not include many, if any wool products. However, this week’s list includes a range of wool and wool-related products, including lanolin, sheep skins, greasy wool, scoured wool, carbonised wool, noils, carded wool, wool tops, worsted and woollen wool yarn (pure and wool blend), worsted and woollen woven wool fabric (pure and wool blend), worsted and woollen knitted wool fabric (pure and wool blend), wool and wool blend carpets and wool hats.
Thankfully, the list does not include any finished wool or wool blend clothing, such as suits, jumpers, trousers, coats, overcoats and so on. From Australia’s perspective, these are critical. These products make up the vast majority of US imports of apparel-related wool products from China. China accounts for 53% of all US imports of wool clothing (knitted and woven). So, an extra duty would hurt the trade by pushing the price paid by US consumers higher.
Further details are included in the NCWSBA Weekly Newsletter for the week ending 21st September 2018, available to NCWSBA members.