China to waive tariffs on US pork, soybeans for some firms

The finance ministry is exempting selected Chinese firms from paying tariffs on imports from the US.

    China has been scouring the world for supply of pork after an outbreak of African swine fever decimated supply of the country's staple meat [File: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg]
    China has been scouring the world for supply of pork after an outbreak of African swine fever decimated supply of the country's staple meat [File: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg]

    China will waive import tariffs for some soybean and pork shipments from the United States, China's finance ministry said on Friday, citing a decision by the country's cabinet.

    The tariff waivers were based on applications by individual firms for US soybeans and pork imports, the ministry said in a statement.

    The exemption specifically applies to Chinese firms importing US soybeans and pork. But it did not specify the quantities involved.

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    China imposed tariffs of 25 percent on US soybeans and pork in July 2018 as a countermeasure to tariffs levied by Washington over allegations that China steals and forces the transfer of American intellectual property to Chinese firms.

    The waiver comes amid negotiations between the US and China to conclude a "phase one" - or interim - deal to de-escalate a 17-month trade war between the two countries. Lifting tariffs on each other's goods is a key part of those talks.

    China has also been scouring the world for more meat to fill a big shortage of protein, after an outbreak of African swine fever devastated its enormous hog herd and cut pork supplies.

    The announcement follows signals by US and Chinese negotiators that they may be drawing closer to agreeing on the first phase of a broader trade deal that would resolve the trade war between the two countries.

    However, US President Donald Trump has said that he would not mind waiting until after the November 2020 US presidential election to reach a deal with China.

    SOURCE: News agencies