China retaliates; $60 billion in tariffs include wood products
August 3, 2018 | 11:26 am CDT
BEIJING - In retaliation to the Trump Administration's recently proposed tariffs, China said it will impose $60 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods.
If the U.S. doesn't back down, China's Commerce Ministry warned in a statement Friday, August 3 that it would add duties of 5, 10, 20, or 25 percent on 5,207 U.S. imports. It also threatened that it could go further at any time.
"In violation of the bilateral consensus reached after multiple rounds of negotiations, the United States has again unilaterally escalated trade frictions," the Chinese State Council Tariff Commission said in its statement.
A multitude of wood products are on the list, including oak logs, birch logs, particleboard, MDF, oriented strand board (OSB), spruce, larch, eucalyptus logs, teak, softwood sheet materials, tropical wood veneer, bamboo plywood, wood pallets, wooden window frames, wooden racks, wooden boxes, wood pulp, processed wood materials, sawdust, wood waste, and furniture.
The retaliation comes soon after the Trump Administration said it was considering more than doubling proposed tariffs. Those 25 percent tariffs would affect more than $200 billion worth of Chinese exports to the U.S. A White House official told Bloomberg that the move was a negotiating tactic - aimed at gaining the upper hand in the trade war. 
The list of $200 billion worth of Chinese products is immense - running around 200 pages - and includes industrial goods and chemicals, consumer products, and wood products.
The proposed tariffs would be on top of 25 percent tariffs that the Trump administration has assessed on $50 billion of Chinese goods: $34 billion of which took effect July 6. China then fired back with tariffs of the same amount.
U.S. companies in China have already reported spikes in delayed product approvals, worker visas, and licensing applications. There have also been cases of Chinese officers ordering seemingly random quarantines for certain products, and jumps in random border inspections.
The wood industry news channel Fordaq cites a report by the International Tropical Timber Organization Trade of wood products between China and the U.S. already trending downward. Late last year the U.S. slapped China's plywood industry with countervailing duties after a Commerce Department analysis showed the engineered panels were being sold at its cost below cost of manufacture.
Data from China’s Customs Department show the value of wood products trade between China and the U.S. fell 16 percent in March 2018. China’s imports also dropped by 5 percent, though overall first quarter showed a 9 percent increase in Chinese exports of wood products: China's imports rose 6 percent to $2.28 billion during the period, while its exports to the U.S. rose 10 percent to $3.98 billion.  

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Robert Dalheim

Robert Dalheim is an editor at the Woodworking Network. Along with publishing online news articles, he writes feature stories for the FDMC print publication. He can be reached at