China yesterday announced a new list of 79 US products eligible for waivers from retaliatory tariffs imposed at the height of the bilateral trade dispute amid continued pressure on Beijing to boost imports from the US.
The Chinese Ministry of Finance in a statement said that the new waivers would take effect on Tuesday next week and expire on May 18 next year.
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 would 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 last week held a call and discussed implementation of the “phase one” trade 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.
Separately yesterday, China suspended imports from four major Australian beef suppliers, just weeks after Beijing’s ambassador warned of a consumer boycott in retaliation for Canberra’s push to probe the origins of the coronavirus.
Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said that shipments of meat from the abattoirs had been suspended over “minor technical” breaches related to Chinese health and labeling certificate requirements.
“We are concerned that the suspensions appear to be based on highly technical issues, which in some cases date back more than a year,” he said. “We will work with industry and authorities in both Australia and China to seek to find a solution that allows these businesses to resume their normal operations as soon as possible.”
The four meatworks account for about 35 percent of Australia’s beef exports to China in a trade worth about A$1.7 billion (US$1.1 billion), according to Australian Broadcasting Corp.
China has also flagged major tariffs on Australian barley over allegations that it is selling the grain in China for less than it costs to produce it — known as dumping.
The Australian Financial Review cited confidential documents as saying that Beijing is considering duties of 73.6 percent.
Tensions between the two have increased since Australia started calling for an independent investigation into the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, which began in China before spreading around the world, killing more than 286,000, infecting millions and shattering the global economy.
Birmingham said the Australian government was treating the trade issues as unrelated to discussions around a virus probe.
“It’s in no way related, in no way related, to the export arrangements for Australian beef or for Australian barley or for anything else,” he said. “We certainly don’t see any relationship, and we would expect that no other counterpart country should see a relationship between those factors either.”
Additional reporting by AFP
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