US-China Trade War Update

The March 1 deadline for an increase from 10% to 25% in tariffs by the US on $200 Billion of imports from China has been postponed, but tariffs on many polymers and chemicals put in place earlier by both countries remain.

Extensive negotiations over the last several weeks between US and Chinese officials may be leading to a trade deal, with Presidents Trump and Xi planning to meet, possibly as early as mid-March. It is too soon to know what is in the deal and whether the major issues involved, among them theft of intellectual property, state subsidized industries and forced technology transfers, are dealt with effectively.

Until an agreement is reached China is applying a 25% duty on imports from the US of, among other products: ethylene, propylene, butadiene, styrene, ethylene glycol, acetone, PTA, HDPE, EVA, ethylene-propylene copolymer, linear low density polyethylene, polypropylene and propylene copolymers.

The US is applying a 25% duty on imports of many polymers from China, but volumes are generally small. More significantly, the US is also applying a 25% duty on imports from China of film and sheet made from polyethylene, polypropylene, PS, PVC, PC and PET and also tubing made from PE and PP. A 10% duty is currently in effect on imports of PVC floor and wall coverings and PE bags and sacks, both of which are imported in large volumes.