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China to Lift Punitive Tariffs on US Soybeans, Pork
USAgNet - 09/16/2019

China will lift punitive tariffs imposed on U.S. soybeans and pork in a trade war with Washington, a state news agency said Friday, adding to conciliatory gestures by the two sides ahead of negotiations.

According to the Associated Press, China will suspend tariff hikes on soybeans, pork and some other farm goods, the Xinhua News Agency said, citing the Cabinet planning agency and the Commerce Ministry. Beijing “supports domestic companies in purchasing a certain amount of U.S. farm produce,” it said, but it gave no details.

The move follows President Donald Trump’s decision Wednesday to postpone a planned Oct. 1 tariff hike on Chinese imports to Oct. 15.

Hopes are growing that the two sides might defuse the prolonged dispute that is threatening global economic growth. But there has been no sign of progress on the main issues in their sprawling conflict over trade and technology.

Beijing’s decision to restore access to low-cost U.S. soybeans also would help Chinese pig farmers who use soy as animal feed. They are reeling from an epidemic of African swine fever that has caused pork prices to soar.

Phone calls to the commerce and finance ministries weren’t answered on Friday, a national holiday in China.

“China has a huge market, and the prospects for importing high-quality U.S. farm produce are broad,” Xinhua said. “China hopes the United States will be true to its word, make progress on its commitments and create favorable conditions for bilateral agricultural cooperation.”

Beijing imposed 25% tariffs on American farm goods last year in response to Trump’s tariff hikes on Chinese goods. Importers were ordered to stop buying soybeans, the biggest U.S. export to China, the AP reports.

China targeted farm goods, hurting rural areas that supported Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

China’s announcement Friday also fine-tunes trade penalties to reduce damage to its own economy at a time of slowing growth.

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