US pork exempt from the latest tariff increases in US-China trade war

China will exempt some US agricultural products from additional tariffs ahead of a new round of trade talks – indicating that tensions may be easing between the two countries.

16 September 2019, at 10:33am

According to reporting from Reuters, China will not increase tariffs on certain US agricultural products. Both the United States and China have made conciliatory gestures in the ongoing trade war: the US delayed a tariff increase on some Chinese products and China renewed purchases of US farm goods.

In the past year, China has imposed three rounds of additional tariffs on US pork. The total duty on pork has been raised from 12 percent to 72 percent. For soybeans, the tariffs have raised the duty from 3 percent to 33 percent.

Reuters reports that it is not immediately clear if some or all of the additional tariffs would be suspended.

According to Xinhua, China’s official news agency, "China supports relevant enterprises buying certain amounts of soybeans, pork and other agricultural products from today in accordance with market principles and WTO rules," adding that the Customs Tariff Commission of China's State Council would exclude additional tariffs on those items.

China has "broad prospects" for importing high-quality US agricultural goods, Xinhua reported, citing unidentified authorities.

US farm groups have welcomed the gesture from China but are hoping for more clarity on which tariffs will be lifted.

"The importance of [the Chinese] market to US pork producers is clear," said National Pork Producers Council President and North Carolina hog farmer David Herring. "US pork exports could single handedly make a huge dent in the trade imbalance with China."

"It is hoped that the US will be true to its words and fulfil its promise to create favourable conditions for cooperation in agricultural areas between the two countries," the Xinhua report said.

Lower-level US and Chinese officials are expected to meet next week in Washington before talks between senior trade negotiators in early October. Trump said on Thursday he preferred a comprehensive trade deal with China but did not rule out the possibility of an interim pact.

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