Beijing, Apr 17 (PTI) Amid the Sino-US tariff trade spat, China today said it will impose provisional anti-dumping measures on the growing imports of sorghum from America and threatened retaliatory measures for denial of export privileges to its top tech firm ZTE.

A preliminary ruling by the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) of China found that US companies had dumped grain sorghum on the Chinese market, and such imports had caused substantial damage to the domestic industry, the MOC said.

Starting tomorrow, importers of the product will be required to pay deposits with Chinese customs calculated based on a rate of 178.6 per cent, according to the ministry.

Data from the MOC showed US sorghum exports to China surged from 3.17 lakhs tonnes in 2013 to 4.76 million tonnes in 2017, while export prices have slumped 31 per cent during the period, which led to a fall in domestic prices that hurt local industries, the Ministry said.

China’s move came amid the trade spat with the US following which Beijing has slapped 25 per cent tariffs on American soybean imports in retaliation for US President Donald Trump camping tariffs on a range of Chinese products. Trump is pressuring China to reduce USD 375 billion trade deficit to USD 100 billion.

China had hit back with tariffs on wide variety of agricultural products such as soybeans, corn, beef, orange juice and tobacco which were expected to hit American farmers. Soybean was regarded as the most important for US farmers as China is their largest importer.

Wang Hejun, head of the MOC’s trade remedy and investigation bureau, said the decision to impose anti-dumping measures on US sorghum is in accordance with Chinese laws and WTO rules, and is aimed at correcting unfair practices to maintain a heathy trade order.

“China has always opposed abuses of trade remedy measures… China is willing to expand cooperation with the US side to reduce disagreements in the trade field,” Wang said.

The MOC decided to launch anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probes into US sorghum in early February. The ruling for anti-subsidy probe will be released later as the two probes involve different procedures and entities, Wang said.

The MOC also threatened retaliatory measures hours after US announced activation of denial of export privileges against Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp for alleged violations of the Export Administration Regulations “The MOC will closely track the case and is ready to take necessary measures to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies, ” MOC spokesperson was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.

ZTE has extensive trade and investment cooperation with hundreds of US companies, creating tens of thousands of jobs in the US, the spokesperson said.

“China has consistently asked Chinese companies to comply with the laws and policies of host countries and manage their businesses in line with laws and regulations,” said the spokesperson.

An official statement from ZTE today said the company is aware of activation of the denial order, and “is communicating with relevant parties proactively in order to respond accordingly.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.