Thu, Jul 11, 2019 - Page 10 News List

US exempting 110 Chinese products

TARIFF AVOIDANCE:The retroactive exemptions granted by the USTR would give relief from the 25 percent tariffs imposed on some Chinese products in July last year

Reuters, WASHINGTON

US President Donald Trump’s administration is to exempt 110 Chinese products, from medical equipment to key capacitors, from hefty tariffs, it said on Tuesday, offering relief to some US firms that have said the taxes harm their bottom lines.

The relatively narrow exemption list will provide relief from the 25 percent tariffs the US slapped on US$34 billion of Chinese imports on July 6 last year, one of the first salvos in a bilateral trade battle that has roiled global supply chains and cost billions.

The retroactive exclusions are effective as of that date, and extend for a year from Tuesday.

US and Chinese negotiators were to resume talks this week after a two-month hiatus, a year since their tit-for-tat tariff battle began.

Washington is pushing Beijing to remedy what US officials see as decades of unfair and illegal trading practices.

The waivers by the US Trade Representative’s Office (USTR) follow another 1,000 exemptions granted in the past year. The US has levied tariffs on US$250 billion of Chinese imports and has threatened to slap taxes on another US$300 billion.

The threat was suspended after a June 29 meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in which they agreed to resume negotiations.

The USTR has exempted a component in a Medtronic PLC device used to treat liver tumors, one of 12 exclusion requests granted to the world’s largest medical device maker.

The research-and-development-heavy components most at risk for intellectual property theft were not produced in China, the firm said.

Palo Alto Networks Inc, a cybersecurity firm, also received a waiver for one of the electronic components it imports from China, a tantalum capacitor used to control electrical flow in its network firewall equipment.

The company argued that substitutes were not produced in the US and that the device did not fall under the high-tech aims of China’s “Made in 2025” industrial development program, which the Trump administration claims is unfairly subsidized and contributes to the theft of US intellectual property.

Varian Medical Systems Inc was also granted an exclusion for some of its radiotherapy equipment after arguing that the tariffs would only hurt it as no other good alternatives are available.

Varian said the tariffs would disadvantage it against its European rival.

In May, the USTR denied 5,311 of the almost 13,000 requests for exclusion.

Tesla Inc was denied exemptions for some Chinese-made circuitry for its vehicles.

The USTR said that the components were “strategically important” to the “Made in China 2025” program.

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