In 2001, China joined WTO. Its GDP back then was a little over $1 trillion USD according to World Bank. And it was really a developing country with very poor quality of life for its citizens. Today in 2018, Chinese GDP is approximately $12 trillion USD, 12 times from its GDP in 2001, a stunning 15.7% compounded annual growth rate between 2001 to 2017. Its GDP now ranked the second in the world, right after the United States of America
Why I am repeating the facts above? The point I wanted to drive home is, what accommodations and arrangements that seemed reasonable 17 years ago for China, is not necessarily adequate today. Those arrangements include import tariffs.
If you go to WTO’s website, very easily you can download import tariffs applied by various countries. We did our diligence and went to the original source of the data. Below is some summary of tariffs China have in place as of 2017, versus same product’s tariff entering US:
Because of the space limitation, I only posted 30 entries in my comparison table. For anyone who is interested in original data, you can download them here: China-US Tariff as of 2017 Comparison , US Tariff Data as of 2017 and China Tariff as of 2017.
As you can see, with the exception of tobacco products, China is applying significant higher tariff to various imports from the rest of the world: Wheat at 65%, Cotton at 40%, Vegetables at 30%, Passenger Cars at 25% (when US only applies 2.5% to motor cars) etc.
I am not an international trade expert, but naturally the question will be, why China as the country with second largest GDP now, can still apply such a high tariff on the goods they import? Isn’t that an obvious unfair trade relationship?
I disagree with President Trump’s lots of positions on various issues, however, on the tariffs and unfair trade relationship, the data seems to be supporting President Trump’s argument strongly. Of course, you can count on “Main Stream Media” to ignore such imbalances and keep on standing with the trade partners not American works whose industries have been subject to such unfair trade actions for so long.