Donald Trump pushes back increase in Chinese import tariffs

Donna Grethen  Op-Art

The long-running trade war between China and the USA has seen them swap tariffs on goods worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

China on Wednesday announced its first batch of tariff exemptions for 16 types of USA products, including some anti-cancer drugs and lubricants, as well as animal feed ingredients whey and fish meal, according to a Ministry of Finance statement on its website.

China said Thursday it was "making enquiries" about buying American farm products including big-ticket products like pork and soybeans, ahead of high-level trade talks in Washington next month.

The US Trade Representative's Office has announced six rounds of exclusions from the punitive tariffs on $34bn of Chinese goods since December.

On Wednesday, China announced a range of USA goods to be exempted from 25% extra tariffs put in place previous year, as the government seeks to ease the impact from the trade war.

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"China is eating the tariffs", he said on Twitter, repeating his claim that higher duties mean Washington is collecting billions of dollars from the Asian giant, without costs being passed on to United States consumers. Moreover, major United States imports, such as soybeans and pork, are still subject to hefty additional duties, as China has ramped up imports from Brazil and other supplying countries.

Gao did not confirm the specific date of the talks, although they are widely expected to take place before October 15, leaving room for a further postponement or even cancelling of some of the tariffs, Hong-Kong based South China Morning Post reported.

Mr Trump has imposed or announced penalties on about 550 billion dollars (£445 billion) of Chinese products, or nearly everything the United States buys from China.

In a sign of the pressure being felt by the Chinese economy, the central People's Bank of China said on Friday it would cut the amount of cash lenders must keep in reserve, allowing an estimated $126 billion in additional loans to businesses. Exports to the US were off 16% while imports were off 22%.

Both the countries slapped additional tariffs on each other's export goods which also resulted in global trade and economic slowdown.

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