News analysis

China's precise tariffs target Trump's support base

Analysts note China has more ammunition left if trade relations with US worsen further

China's imposition of tariffs on a range of American imports including pork, fruit and nuts, targets part of US President Donald Trump's political base and is a step deeper into a trade war.

But the tariffs were relatively precise and not unexpected, and avoided targeting major commodities such as soybeans. The tariffs cover a small percentage - US$3 billion (S$3.9 billion) - of America's US$140.5 billion worth of agricultural goods exports in the last fiscal year, of which China accounted for about US$22 billion.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2018, with the headline 'China's precise tariffs target Trump's support base'. Print Edition | Subscribe