China’s Tariff Turnaround: U.S. Crude Oil Drops Off the Target List

As China made good on its threat to impose 25% tariffs on $16 billion worth of U.S. imports, one big-ticket item originally on its hit list was conspicuously missing: crude oil.

Oil had been one of a slate of targets China listed in June for tariffs to counter those the Trump administration threatened on Chinese imports. The gambit jeopardized a budding relationship: Over the past two years China has become the biggest buyer of U.S. crude-oil exports, last year taking a fifth of the total.

But oil was off Wednesday’s final list. China’s Ministry of Commerce didn’t explain the omission and didn’t immediately respond to questions. Its statement accompanying the list called the U.S. measures “unreasonable” and said China had to counter them “to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests and the multilateral trading system.” The dollar-for-dollar retaliation against the U.S. tariffs is set to take effect Aug. 23.Read More

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