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Hogs are pictured at a pig farm
Image: picture-alliance/imagechina/Y. Shuiling

China offers olive branch on US pork and soy imports

December 6, 2019

China has said it could waive tariffs on some US soybean and pork shipments, in a sign that trade tensions might be easing. The two countries are in early talks about the de-escalation of their long-running dispute.


Beijing said on Friday that it might offer a levy waiver to some US soy and pork imports — a potential peace offering after nearly two years of trade tariff hostilities.

The suggestion comes as the countries edge towards a partial deal that would see China allow in more US farm products.

Read more: Schnitzel shortage predicted over swine fever in China

The change could also result from the need to fill a supply gap. Pork imports to China surged in recent months after the outbreak of African swine fever led to the slaughter of nearly a third of its domestic pig herd.

"The Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council is carrying out the exclusion of some soybeans, pork and other commodities based on applications from enterprises," China's finance ministry said in a statement.

China has raised tariffs on pork from the US three times since the trade war started in March 2018, with duty going up from 12% to 72%.

Levies on soybeans have been ramped up from 3% to 33%. China consumes more soybeans than any other country in the world, and has been filling the supply gap by importing from elsewhere — particularly Brazil.

Read more: China lifts ban on US poultry

China and the US have been locked into an extended trade war over what the US viewed as China's unfair protectionist policies and intellectual property theft.

The waiver comes amid negotiations between the United States and China to deliver a "phase one" interim deal to de-escalate the dispute which began in early 2018.

rc/rt (AFP, Reuters)

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