China waives US pork and soybean import tariffs

In a positive gesture, China said on Friday that it will waive import tariffs for some soybean and pork shipments from the United States, as the two sides try to thrash out a broader agreement to defuse their protracted trade war.
calendar icon 7 December 2019
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US soybeans

Beijing's levies on US soybeans initially brought its purchases of the US' most valuable farm export to a virtual halt, although it has offered waivers to buyers in recent months.

The Chinese government never made the details of these waivers public, however, as well as how to implement such waivers.

Those waivers are said to have expired, although new exemptions may come too late, said an analyst.

"December arrivals are already pretty high and then we're getting into the Brazil crop," said Darin Friedrichs, senior Asia commodity analyst at INTL FC Stone.

"There's limited space to buy new US soybeans at this point."

Exemptions for pork are likely to be in higher demand, with less than two months until China's Lunar New Year holiday, the country's peak consumption period.

China has been scouring the world for more meat to fill a big shortage of protein after an outbreak of African swine fever devastated its massive hog herd, cutting supplies of pork.

US pork exports to China and Hong Kong are already up 47 percent in volume terms from January to September, even with high duties in place.

A second adviser to the Chinese government said exemptions on the products suited Beijing, as they helped meet market demand for such goods while reducing the trade surplus with the United States.

"We might as well buy soybeans from the US rather than from Brazil. Brazil is actually selling us what was purchased from the United States and they even hiked the prices up before selling to us. In that case, we'd better just buy from the United States," she said.

wet market selling pork in Asia
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