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China exempts more US goods from tariffs

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China on Tuesday released a list of 79 items from the United States that will be exempted from trade war tariffs, a day after the US ruled out renegotiating their earlier trade deal.

The list of goods, posted online by the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council, includes medical disinfectant, rare-earth metal ores, and some silicon wafers used in the electronics industry.

They will be exempted from retaliatory tariffs for a year from May 19, and tariffs that have been levied can be returned, the council said.

It did not say how much of these products were imported by China last year.

China had earlier announced one-year exemptions beginning on February 28 involving 65 products from the United States, including aircraft parts and medical equipment.

The moves come as China grapples with supply-chain disruptions and other economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused already fraught tensions with the United States to spike.

The two sides have traded accusations over the coronavirus response, raising questions over the fate of a partial trade deal inked in January that had marked a truce in their bruising economic war.

US President Donald Trump on Monday ruled out renegotiating that deal, when asked about reports that China was looking to reopen talks.

Under the deal, the Trump administration agreed to postpone any further tariff increases, while China promised a $200-billion increase over two years in its purchases of US products compared to the 2017 levels.

Last Friday, Vice Premier Liu He, who had led China’s negotiations, spoke by phone with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and confirmed that both sides agreed to implementing the first phase of the deal.


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