Trade war with China started as several U.S. ships with $216 mill worth of grain turned around as China imposes 178.6% deposit

The anticipated trade war with China appears to have actually started as severalships carrying more than $216m worth of sorghum were at sea but several changed course within hours of China’s announcement this week that it would place stiff tariffs on the grain. China said it would begin requiring deposits of 178.6% of the value of grain shipments. The diverted ships were all loaded in Texas, would have had to pay that deposit, rendering their shipments unprofitable.

US regulators focused on Chinese technology companies, banning American companies from selling products telecom equipment maker ZTE. US telecom are also be barred from buying equipment from foreign companies deemed a security risk, a move likely to hurt Chinese telecom Huawei as well as ZTE.

At the same time, there has been an increase in Chinese companies shipping to the U.S. which are finding ways to evade existing U.S. customs duties by shipping products to other nations and re-labeling them with a different country of origin, such as Vietnam or Mexico which does not have high duties on the same products including steel and sea food goods. U.S. agencies are seeking ways to try to stop this practice including allowing whistleblowers to report the fraud and collect up to 30% of what the government collects.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers.