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.