US-China trade war

No sweet deal in trade war: Chocolate, gum and baked goods among $60bn US goods struck by Chinese tariffs

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: ©GettyImages/ANNECORDON
Pic: ©GettyImages/ANNECORDON
China has announced tariffs on approximately $60bn worth of US goods as a retaliation after the Trump administration slapped 25% tariffs on $200bn Chinese products earlier this year.

State-run newspaper Global Times​ said the implementation date of China’s proposed tariffs will be determined based on US reaction, and “the trade war will then reach new heights,” ​it warned.

It also said, “the US won’t be able to hold on for too much longer”​ and claims Washington has lost support both domestically and internationally for its policy.

“China’s recent counter-response is a restrained one, and the country is reserving the right and its ability to announce more against the US,”​ added the paper, noting the country’s countermeasures aim to “minimize the detrimental impact on domestic production and living standards.”

According to China’s Ministry of Finance, the import taxes would range in rates from 5% to 25%, and many of the total 5,207 affected products​ are agricultural related such as oats, starch and cocoa-added items.

ConfectioneryNews and its sister publication BakeryandSnacks have singled out the products that fall into their related categories.

US products facing 25% levies:

Dried, smoked, salted beef; nuts; processed oats and other grains; potato starch; sugar; cocoa oil, butter and powder; raw cocoa beans; cocoa products that weigh more than 2kg each; egg-added flour products; stuffed flour products; instant noodles; sweet crackers; wafers including communion wafers; bread and toast; machines that process confections, cocoa powder and chocolate.

US products facing 20% levies:

Flatted or shredded oats; flax seeds; sausages; caramel; gum; confections added without cocoa; pastry dough; products made with popped grains; baked goods.

US products facing 10% levies:

Corn starch; palm nuts; sugar added with artificial flavors and colors; sugar-added cocoa powder; ground oats; peanut butter; brand and gluten;

US products facing 5% levies:


What do CPG companies say?

The larger US CPG companies say business has not been unduly affected at this stage by the elevated US-Sino trade war.

Jeff Beckman, Hershey’s spokesperson, said: “We are watching the issue closely, but do not expect China tariffs to have a significant impact on our business.

“We do not export products made in China to the United States, and most of the products we sell in China are made in China or in the region,”​ he added. “Most of the products we sell in the United State are made at one of our eight US manufacturing plants.”

Mondelēz also said it is monitoring the situation closely.

“It’s an evolving policy landscape… It would be inappropriate for us to speculate on how this might eventually play out but so far we have not seen significant impact on our business,”​ said Valerie Moens, Mondelēz’s spokesperson.

Similar to Hershey, “most of our manufacturing capacity is positioned to serve our local markets,”​ she added.

“We are engaging as part of a coalition of companies, including through the National Foreign Trade Council, advocating for an open, rules-based global trading system,”​ said Moens.

Mars Wrigley noted it is disappointed to see any new barriers to trade coming into force.

"We support the rules-based trading system promoted by the World Trade Organization (WTO), supplemented by free trade agreements. Any new tariffs effectively result in a tax on manufacturers, suppliers, farmers and ultimately consumers," ​said a Mars' spokesperson.

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