A U.S. cargo ship containing soybean exports bound for China is steaming toward the country in hopes of beating a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans expected to be implemented Friday.
Bloomberg reports that the ship, Peak Pegasus, is expected to arrive in China at 5 p.m. local time the same day, just barely beating the tariff announced by Chinese authorities last month in a retaliatory tariffs package.
If the ship arrives on time, it will be allowed to clear customs before the hefty tariffs on U.S. exports go into effect, according to a person familiar with the cargo. China announced the measures targeting soybeans last month along with duties on electric cars, orange juice, whiskey, lobsters, salmon and cigars.
China's retaliatory moves, which total $34 billion in tariffs, are expected to go into effect Friday at the same time as U.S. tariffs announced by the Trump administration to counter intellectual property theft and unfair trade practices.
China's government hasn't announced exactly when the tariffs will go into effect, saying only that it will issue them in response to the Treasury Department's implementation of U.S. tariffs.
The Trump administration has escalated trade actions targeting China and other countries in recent weeks, angering U.S. allies including the European Union, Canada and Mexico with duties targeting U.S. aluminum and steel imports.
"My great friendship with President Xi [Jinping] of China and our country’s relationship with China are both very important to me," Trump said in a statement last month.
"Trade between our nations, however, has been very unfair, for a very long time. This situation is no longer sustainable," he added.
Tensions over U.S. trade moves boiled over at the Group of 7 (G-7) summit last month, culminating in the U.S. refusing to sign on to a joint communique traditionally signed by all world leaders present for G-7 negotiations.