Published: Wed, September 11, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

China to exempt 16 categories of United States products from tariffs

China to exempt 16 categories of United States products from tariffs

The US also exempted 110 imported Chinese products from tariffs back in July.

The exemptions will become effective on September 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.

After months of an escalating tit-for-tat tariffs battle, the exemptions will cool tensions ahead of low-level discussions due to begin in the coming weeks.

"The exemption could be seen as a gesture of sincerity towards the US ahead of negotiations in October but is probably more a means of supporting the economy", Iris Pang of ING said in a report.

Two lists of goods will be excluded from China's first round of tariff countermeasures against the U.S. Section 301 measures. "An exemption list of just 16 items will not change China's stance", she said.

So far, the U.S. has imposed tariffs on more than $360bn (£296bn) of Chinese goods, and China has retaliated with tariffs on more than $110bn of United States products.

These products will be exempt from additional tariffs although existing tariffs will not be subject to refunds.

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Negotiators are preparing for talks in Washington aimed at ending the tariff war over trade and technology that threatens global economic growth.

Nevertheless, some analysts view the move as a friendly gesture by China ahead of talks with the US.

Both sides raised tariffs on each others' goods on September 1 in the trade war's latest escalation, and the US plans to add more tariffs on October 1.

The South China Morning Post reported, citing an unidentified source, that China was expected to buy more agricultural products in hopes of a better trade deal with the United States.

Although Abe told Xi that Trump trusts the Chinese president, Xi continued to air his grievances about his USA counterpart, the diplomatic source told Kyodo News.

But senior White House adviser Peter Navarro tamped down expectations for the next rounds of trade talks, urging investors, businesses and the public to be patient about resolving trade dispute.

Xi also had a telephone conference with Trump on June 18, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, and Xi said he hoped that "the USA side can treat Chinese firms in a fair manner".

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