China keeps penalties on USA pork, soy, eases some others

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The exemptions announced Wednesday will become effective on September 17 and be valid for one year, according to the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council, which released two lists that include seafood products and anti-cancer drugs.

"China trade tensions is exerting significant downward pressure on both economies", chamber Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant said in a statement.

However, Beijing did not spare high-profile U.S. products like soybeans and pork.

Senior White House adviser Peter Navarro on Tuesday tamped down expectations for the next rounds of trade talks, urging investors, businesses and the public to be patient about resolving the two-year trade dispute between the USA and China.

China on Wednesday announced it will exempt American industrial grease and some other imports from tariff hikes in a trade war with Washington but kept in place penalties on soybeans and other major USA exports ahead of negotiations next month.

"American companies continue to do well in China, but the trade conflict now shadows many businesses", said Eric Zheng, chairman of the trade association.

In their latest escalation, Washington imposed 15% tariffs on $112 billion of Chinese products on September 1 and is planning to hit another $160 billion December 15. An exemption list of just 16 items will not change China's stance.

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Today's exemptions apply to the round of tariffs China imposed on USA goods starting last July in retaliation for higher US levies.

China said it would exclude 16 categories of products from retaliatory tariffs beginning next week ahead of talks to resolve the U.S. China trade war that has proven a drag on both countries' economies. Moreover, major US imports, such as soybeans and pork, are still subject to hefty additional duties, as China ramped up imports from Brazil and other supplying countries.

Washington and Beijing have raised tariffs on billions of dollars of each other's products.

So far, the U.S. has imposed tariffs on more than $360bn (£296bn) of Chinese goods, and China has retaliated with tariffs on more than $110bn of USA products.

The South China Morning Post reported, citing an unidentified source, that China was expected to buy more agricultural products in hopes of a better trade deal with the United States.

Chinese imports of USA goods tumbled 22.5% in August from a year earlier and exports to the United States, China's biggest foreign market, fell 16%.

Earlier on Wednesday, a survey by a prominent American business association showed the trade dispute was souring the profit and investment outlook for US companies operating in the world's second-biggest economy.