China removes several US goods from tariff list

September 12, 2019

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Shanghai: Packets of raw soybeans at a US company’s booth at the international soybean exhibition in this file photo.—AP
Shanghai: Packets of raw soybeans at a US company’s booth at the international soybean exhibition in this file photo.—AP

BEIJING: China on Wednesday said it would spare some US products from punitive new tariffs, an apparent olive branch ahead of high-level talks next month to resolve the two nations’ protracted trade war.

However, the goods do not include big-ticket agricultural items that could be crucial to the ultimate success of any agreement between the two sides, whose stand-off is dragging on the global economy.

The exemptions will become effective on Sept 17 and be valid for a year, according to the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council, which released two lists that include seafood products and anti-cancer drugs.

The lists mark the first time Beijing has announced products to be excluded from tariffs.

Other categories that will become exempt include alfalfa pellets, fish feed, medical linear accelerators and mould release agents, while the commission said it was also considering further exemptions.

In a tweet early Wednesday, US President Donald Trump noted the tariff exemptions, saying the trade war was proving more costly for China than previously thought.

Both sides imposed fresh tit-for-tat tariffs on Sept 1 in the latest round of levies, which now cover goods worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

“These adjustments signal that China is more willing to make progress in the October trade talks, likely toward striking a ‘narrow’ agreement that involves China buying more US goods in exchange for the US suspending further tariff hikes,” Barclays analysts said in a research note.

It said Beijing had been sounding a more “constructive” note in recent weeks over trade relations.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2019