by AFP/ pic by BLOOMBERG
BEIJING – China said on Friday it will offer a tariff waiver to “some” imports of US soybean and pork, in the latest sign of easing trade tensions between Beijing and Washington.
The world’s two biggest economies have exchanged blows for over a year, with tariffs now impacting hundreds of billions of dollars in two-way trade.
The olive branch comes at a time when the two sides are edging towards a partial deal that includes a promise to increase the purchase of US farm produce.
“The Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council is carrying out the exclusion of some soybeans, pork and other commodities based on applications from enterprises,” the finance ministry said Friday in a statement.
Chinese companies have already “independently imported certain quantities of goods from the United States,” the statement said, without offering details.
Beijing has increased tariffs on US pork three times since the trade war started in March 2018, raising the total duty from 12 to 72 percent as of September.
The tariff on soybeans has gone up from 3 to 33 percent, after two rounds of tariffs — 25 percent in July, 2018 and another 5 percent in September.
China is the world’s biggest consumer of soybean and has been shopping elsewhere, such as Brazil, to boost supplies.
Beijing has also seen a surge in pork imports in recent months after an outbreak of deadly African swine fever in August 2018 led to the culling of nearly of third of China’s pig herd.