ADVERTISEMENT
2 /3 FREE ARTICLES LEFT THIS MONTH Remaining
Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.

If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.

ENJOY UNLIMITED ACCES TO C&EN

Trade

Chemicals at risk in spat with China

Trade in chemicals between the U.S. and China is robust and roughly equal

by Jean-François Tremblay
April 2, 2018 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 96, ISSUE 14

No one knows yet what products would be hit as part of a Trump administration plan to impose tariffs on Chinese imports, but chemicals are unlikely to emerge unscathed from any U.S.-China trade conflict.

President Donald J. Trump announced on March 22 that the U.S. will impose tariffs on about $60 billion worth of Chinese goods to punish the country for technology and trade-secret theft. The White House said it will reveal the list of goods within 15 days of Trump’s announcement.

U.S.-China chemical trade

Unlike manufacturing overall, chemical trade was roughly in balance last year.

 


COMMODITY
U.S. EXPORTS, $ MILLIONS
U.S. IMPORTS, $ MILLIONS
Organic chemicals
3,668
7,449
Pharmaceutical products
3,375
1,257
Inorganic chemicals
900
1,239
Dyes and pigments
499
545
Fertilizers
56
106
Other chemicals
6,079
3,351
Total, chemical
14,577
13,947
Total trade, all commodities
149,661
431,783

COMMODITY:3,668

U.S. EXPORTS, $ MILLIONS:7,449

COMMODITY:3,375

U.S. EXPORTS, $ MILLIONS:1,257

COMMODITY:900

U.S. EXPORTS, $ MILLIONS:1,239

COMMODITY:499

U.S. EXPORTS, $ MILLIONS:545

COMMODITY:56

U.S. EXPORTS, $ MILLIONS:106

COMMODITY:6,079

U.S. EXPORTS, $ MILLIONS:3,351

COMMODITY:14,577

U.S. EXPORTS, $ MILLIONS:13,947

COMMODITY:149,661

U.S. EXPORTS, $ MILLIONS:431,783

Source:

Customs General Administration of the People’s Republic of China, C&EN calculations

The plan followed a separate U.S. proposal to impose tariffs on aluminum and steel produced in China and other countries.

In response to the March 22 announcement, China threatened a countermeasure that would target about $3 billion worth of American goods, including fresh fruit, nuts, and wine. Officials hinted that a fuller response could follow.

In a statement, the Chinese embassy in the U.S. vowed that “if a trade war were initiated by the U.S., China would fight to the end to defend its own legitimate interests.”

Chemicals represented about 10% of total U.S. merchandise exports to China in 2017. The proportion rises to more than 14% if plastics are included. In 2017, the U.S. shipped $21.5 billion worth of chemicals and plastics and $19.5 billion in agricultural products to China.

The American Chemistry Council, the main trade group for the U.S. chemical industry, says the situation is too fluid to accurately estimate the impact of tariffs on the industry. A spokesman says a team will likely meet soon to discuss advocacy strategy. ACC was critical of the planned steel tariffs and earlier threats by Trump to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Even before the U.S. announcement, chemicals were vulnerable to trade conflicts. In a preliminary ruling last month, China found the U.S., Taiwan, and South Korea guilty of dumping styrene in China. The ministry of commerce demanded that manufacturers from those countries pay a deposit in case the final ruling confirms the dumping.

X

Article:

This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Comments
Edward Polen (April 3, 2018 8:59 PM)
My company depends on a variety of chemical
Products made in China and not in the USA.
In addition, we are not allowed to sell some of those products made in the USA as we are not authorized by the domestic manufacturer. In order to maintain a full line of products we depend on foreign produced material made in s variety of countries including China.
An import tax on these products would cause us to be non jcompetitive in the market place which would force our customers to purchase elsewhere, including other items they would normally purchase from us. This would be disastrous for our company.
We are located in Wisconsin, serve the greater Midwest with a variety of products, and employ over 500 individuals.
Thank you

Leave A Comment

*Required to comment