China to Cut Tariffs on U.S. Imports

The Chinese Finance Ministry says it will cut tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. products. The cuts begin on February 14th and will include ag commodities like soybeans, asparagus, pork, and more. However, a Wall Street Journal article says there likely won’t be a big impact. An Agri-Pulse report says the move will cut tariff rate increases in half, somewhere between five and 10 percent, that China put into effect late last year in response to U.S. tariffs. The 30 percent punitive tariff on soybeans will drop to 27.5 percent on February 14, which will be seen largely as a goodwill gesture by China that won’t have a big effect on trade between the two countries. The “Phase One” trade deal between China and the U.S. calls for increased Chinese purchases of American agricultural commodities but neither side did away with the tariffs that have been a staple of the trade war since it began. China points out that the next step in tariff reduction depends on how much progress the two countries make in their relationship. U.S. and government officials say they expect China to boost purchases by granting targeted exemptions to the tariffs currently in place. All recent Chinese soybean buys took place in spite of the punitive tariffs in place and were due to the Chinese government giving targeted exemptions to importers.