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China extends tariff exemptions for US chemical and oil products

China extends tariff exemptions for US chemical and oil products
Six US chemical and oil products will not be targeted by additional duties for another year, according to China’s finance ministry. The exemptions were initially introduced after the two countries reached a phase-one trade deal.

The extension will come into force on Saturday and last until December 25, 2021, the ministry said in a statement on Friday. The tariff waivers cover refined oil products such as white oil and food-grade petroleum wax, as well as metallocene high-density polyethylene and a special grade of linear low-density polyethylene.

China unveiled the tariff exemptions last December in a goodwill gesture, after Beijing and Washington agreed to a phase-one deal. The accord, officially signed by the two sides in January, prevented new bilateral tariffs and partly cut some of the punitive duties imposed by the world’s two largest economies in the course of their trade conflict.

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Under the deal, Beijing agreed to boost purchases of American goods and services to $200 billion in 2020 and 2021. However, recent studies show that Chinese imports from the US still lag behind the promised levels. According to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, China bought $82 billion of US products between January and November this year, meaning the purchases amounted to just 58 percent of their year-to-date targets.

It is still unclear if the second part of the deal will be finalized, as the outgoing Trump administration is unlikely to sign any new agreement. US President-elect Joe Biden is not going to immediately remove existing tariffs on Chinese exports either, the New York Times reported earlier this month, quoting Biden. The new administration also wants to review the existing deal and focus on what Biden called “China’s abusive practices – that’s stealing intellectual property, dumping products, [and] illegal subsidies to corporations.”

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