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China exempts 16 types of US goods from additional tariffs

File photo Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Beijing, China Sep 11, 2019, 01.19 PM (IST)

China announced exemptions for 16 types of US products from additional retaliatory duties, in a move that comes as trade negotiators from the two countries prepare to meet later this month to try and de-escalate their protracted tariff row.

The exemptions will apply to US goods including some anti-cancer drugs and lubricants, as well as animal feed such as whey and fish meal, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement on its website on Wednesday.

China has imposed several rounds of duties on US goods in retaliation against US Section 301 tariffs, beginning last year in July and August with a 25% levy on about $50 billion of US imports.

In all, the world's two largest economies have slapped tit-for-tat tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods in a bitter trade war that has dragged on for well over a year and hurt business investment, profits and global growth.

The items on the two tariff exemption lists - posted on the ministry's website - will not be subject to additional duties imposed by China on US goods "as countermeasures to US Section 301 measures", the ministry said in its statement.

The exemption will take effect on September 17 and be valid for a year through to Sept. 16, 2020, it said.

However, the exempted list includes only a small quantity of items in comparison to over 5,000 types of US products that are already subject to China's additional tariffs. Moreover, major US imports, such as soybean and corn, are still subject to hefty additional duties.

Wednesday's announcement comes before Chinese trade deputies are expected to meet with their US counterparts in mid-September in Washington. That will be followed by minister-level meetings in early October in the US capital, involving Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.