China Removes Tariffs on Additional Imports from US

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SWITZERLAND, MAY 13

On Tuesday. China released a new list of 79 imports from the United States that will be free from tariffs, just a day after the US cancelled the possibility of renegotiating their earlier trade deal.

The list posted online by the Customs Tariffs Commission of the State Council comprises items such as medical disinfectants, rare-earth metal ores, gold ores, silver ores and concentrates.

These items would be excluded from retaliatory tariffs for a year, commencing on May 19, and tariffs that have been charged will be refunded, the council said.

Recall that earlier in February, China announced a one-year waiver to commence on February 28 for 696 U.S. imports including key products such as soybeans, pork and petrochemical products.

The decision to exempt US imports from tariffs arises as the country battles with supply-chain disruptions and economic downturns occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, intensifying its already strained relations with the United States.

Beijing and Washington’s top trade negotiators discussed the implementation of the Phase 1 deal signed in January during a call last week.

Under the deal, China pledged to increase its purchases of US goods from a 2017 baseline by $200 billion over two years with about $77 billion in increased purchases in the first year and $123 billion in the second year. The Trump administration, on the other hand, agreed to suspend any further tariff increases on Chinese imports.

Notwithstanding, the COVID-19 pandemic has incited a resurgence of tension between the two countries raising suspicions about the trade truce. The two countries have repeatedly hurled accusations at one another regarding the response to the pandemic.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to rule out the deal if China does not meet its purchase agreements.

Speaking at a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the two nations should implement the deal with equality and mutual respect, stating that it is beneficial for both sides, along with the rest of the world.

In a statement posted to its website last week, the Office of the US Trade Representative added that “both sides agreed that good progress is being made on creating the governmental infrastructures necessary to make the agreement a success.”

Meanwhile, China’s Global Times, published by the official newspaper of the ruling Communist Party reported on Monday that some government advisers were urging Beijing to invalidate the trade deal and negotiate a one more favourable to China.

This suggestion was ,however, swiftly shot down by Trump at a press conference in Washington on Monday.

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