Ag News

China exempts some U.S. farm product imports from tariffs

U.S. exporters of soybeans and pork will be able to sell those products to Chinese customers without having tariffs assessed, according to multiple published reports.

The Xinhua Chinese News Agency reported that the exemption would last from Sept. 17 to Sept. 16, 2020. The announcement was reported by Xinjua on Sept. 11.

China put tariffs on hundreds of U.S. goods in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on imports of hundreds of Chinese goods. The U.S. government, in response to requests from American companies, removed tariffs on approximately 400 Chinese products.

A delegation of Chinese negotiators was scheduled to tour U.S. farms in Montana and Nebraska, but canceled the visit. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in published reports that he had asked the Chinese contingent to cancel the visits after the two nations concluded a round of deputy-level trade talks in Washington on Sept. 19 and 20.

The office of United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer described the meetings as productive. A round of principal-level talks, involving Lighthizer and Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, is scheduled for October.

Agricultural producers have been hit particularly hard in the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China. In 2017, the U.S. exported $19.5 billion worth of agricultural products to China. In 2018, as the conflict progressed, U.S. ag exports to China fell to $9.5 billion.

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), citing an economist from Iowa State University, noted that the Chinese retaliatory tariffs on U.S. pork has resulted in lower prices for hogs by $8 per head. The NPPC said when the 60% punitive tariffs were assessed it brought the effective tariff rate on U.S. pork sold to Chinese customers is 72%; producers in other countries are assessed 12% tariffs.