China announces new tariff waivers for some US imports

BEIJING: China announced on Tuesday a new list of 79 US products eligible for waivers from retaliatory tariffs imposed at the height of the bilateral trade war, amid continued pressure on Beijing to boost imports from the United States.

China’s finance ministry said in a statement the new waivers will take effect on May 19 and expire on May 18, 2021. The latest list waives tariffs on products including ores of rare earth metals, gold ores, silver ores and concentrates.

The ministry did not disclose the imports value of the products. Beijing in February said it will grant exemptions for 696 US goods including key products such as soybeans and pork based on applications from companies.

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

Under the deal, China agreed to increase its purchases of US goods from a 2017 baseline by US$200 billion over two years, with about US$77 billion in increased purchases in the first year and US$123 billion in the second year.

Renewed tensions between the two countries, sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic that began in China late last year, are also raising questions about the trade truce.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to terminate the deal if China fails to meet its purchase commitments.

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