China to exempt 16 categories of US products from tariffs

President Donald Trump on Friday said the weight of the protracted trade war is damaging China more than the US. (File/AFP)
Updated 11 September 2019

China to exempt 16 categories of US products from tariffs

  • Beijing and Washington have been embroiled in a year-long trade war
  • The exemptions announced Wednesday will become effective on September 17

BEIJING: China announced Wednesday it would exempt 16 categories of products from US tariffs, ahead of a fresh round of trade talks next month.

Beijing and Washington have been embroiled in a year-long trade war that has seen the two sides slap punitive tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in two-way trade.

The exemptions announced Wednesday will become effective on September 17 and be valid for one year, according to the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council, which released two lists that include seafood products and anti-cancer drugs.

The lists mark the first time Beijing has announced products to be excluded from tariffs. Other categories that will become exempt include alfalfa pellets, fish feed, medical linear accelerators and mold release agents.

Wednesday’s lists do not include big-ticket items such as soybeans and pork. But in the statement, the commission said it was also considering further exemptions.

Trade negotiators have said they will meet in Washington in early October, raising hopes for an easing of tensions between the world’s two biggest economies.

Both sides imposed fresh tit-for-tat tariffs on September 1. In a sign of the pressure being felt by the Chinese economy, the central People’s Bank of China said on Friday it would cut the amount of cash lenders must keep in reserve, allowing an estimated $126 billion in additional loans to businesses.
China’s economic growth came in at 6.2 percent in the second quarter, the lowest rate in nearly three decades.

President Donald Trump on Friday said the weight of the protracted trade war is damaging China more than the US. “China is eating the tariffs,” he said on Twitter, repeating his claim that higher duties mean Washington is collecting billions of dollars from the Asian giant, without costs being passed on to US consumers.

But experts have warned there are signs the US is also feeling the pinch, with job creation slowing across major industries last month.


Indian officials warn of lockdown extensions as COVID-19 cases in South Asia near 6,000

Updated 04 April 2020

Indian officials warn of lockdown extensions as COVID-19 cases in South Asia near 6,000

  • Modi said this week the country will pull out of the planned three-week lockdown in a phased manner
  • India has been hardest hit by the disease in South Asia with some 2,902 cases, of which 68 have died

MUMBAI: The number of confirmed new coronavirus cases in South Asia neared 6,000 on Saturday, even as authorities in some cities tightened restrictions on movement and warned lockdowns could be extended in a bid to rein in the pandemic.
“If people don’t obey the rules seriously and cases continue to rise, then there may be no option but to extend the lockdown,” Rajesh Tope, the health minister of Maharashtra state which includes the financial hub Mumbai, told Reuters. “It could be extended in Mumbai and urban areas of Maharashtra by two weeks.”
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said this week the country will pull out of the planned three-week lockdown in a phased manner. India has been hardest hit by the disease in South Asia with some 2,902 cases, of which 68 have died.
Maharashtra has 516 confirmed cases of COVID-19 — the disease caused by the coronavirus — and 26 people have died.
While the government does plan to review the lockdown, set to end on April 14, three senior officials told Reuters this will depend on an assessment of the situation in each state, and lockdowns and restrictions would be extended in districts where the coronavirus case spread has continued.
Public transport in large metros such as Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi, may only be restored in a phased manner days after the lockdown ends, said the officials, who asked not to be named as the plans were still under discussion.
Restrictions tightened
The number of COVID-19 cases have more than doubled in South Asia in the last week. Health experts warn an epidemic in the region, home to a fifth of the world’s population, could overwhelm its already weak public health systems.
But Muslim-majority Pakistan and Bangladesh, and India, home to the world’s largest Muslim minority, have struggled to convince conservative religious groups to maintain social distancing.
On Friday, Pakistani Muslims at a Karachi mosque clashed with baton-wielding police trying to enforce new curbs on gatherings to prevent Friday prayers and contain coronavirus infections, officials said.
This came after the government in the southern province of Sindh, home to the financial hub of Karachi, enforced a three-hour curfew on Friday afternoon, in a bid to persuade Muslim worshippers to pray at home.
Pakistan has so far reported 2,547 coronavirus infections, fueled by a jump in cases related to members of the Tablighi Jamaat, an orthodox Muslim proselytising group.

Following is data on the spread of the coronavirus in South Asia, according to government figures:

* India has registered 2,902 cases, including 68 deaths.
* Pakistan has registered 2,547 cases, including 37 deaths.
* Afghanistan has registered 281 cases, including 6 deaths.
* Sri Lanka has registered 159 cases, including 5 deaths.
* Bangladesh has registered 61 cases, including six deaths.
* Maldives has registered 32 cases and no deaths.
* Nepal has registered six cases and no deaths.
* Bhutan has registered five cases and no deaths.