By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) The Chinese government has opted to spare some U.S. goods from being targeted with retaliatory tariffs after the Trump administration imposed new fees on all of the country’s imports as new trade talks loom.
The Epoch Times reported Wednesday that Beijing has announced what has been described as a first batch of tariff exemptions for 16 U.S. products ahead of planned trade meetings between reps from both countries.
Exemptions include some anti-cancer drugs and lubricants, animal feed ingredients, fish meal, and whey, according to the Chinese Ministry of Finance.
Chinese leaders said in May the country would launch a waiver program over concerns that the continued, protracted trade war with the United States is hurting Beijing’s economy, which is slowing. (Related: Markets rally as China sends positive sign on U.S. trade talks amid fourth month of declining factory output)
While some analysts see the exemptions as a goodwill gesture, they don’t believe it is a forerunner to a major trade agreement.
“The exemption could be seen as a gesture of sincerity toward the U.S. ahead of negotiations in October but is probably more a means of supporting the economy,” ING’s Greater China economist Iris Pang wrote in a note, The Epoch Times reported.
“There are still many uncertainties in the coming trade talks. An exemption list of just 16 items will not change China’s stance,” she added.
To be sure, the list of 16 exemptions is dwarfed by the more than 5,000 U.S. products subjected to Chinese tariffs. That said, recent economic data prove that U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods are having a negative impact on China’s economic growth and employment.
“China is doing very badly, worst year in 27 – was supposed to start buying our agricultural product now – no signs that they are doing so. That is the problem with China, they just don’t come through. Our Economy has become MUCH larger than the Chinese Economy is last 3 years,” President Donald Trump tweeted in July.
“..My team is negotiating with them now, but they always change the deal in the end to their benefit. They should probably wait out our Election to see if we get one of the Democrat stiffs like Sleepy Joe,” he added, a reference to 2020 Democratic presidential contender and former Vice President Joe Biden.
“Then they could make a GREAT deal, like in past 30 years, and continue……to ripoff the USA, even bigger and better than ever before. The problem with them waiting, however, is that if & when I win, the deal that they get will be much tougher than what we are negotiating now…or no deal at all. We have all the cards, our past leaders never got it!” he added.
“For many years China (and many other countries) has been taking advantage of the United States on Trade, Intellectual Property Theft, and much more. Our country has been losing hundreds of billions of dollars a year to China, with no end in sight,” Trump said in an Aug. 23 tweet.
“As President, I can no longer allow this to happen!” he added.
Milton Ezrati, chief economist for Vested, the New York-based communications firm, noted in August that Trump will have to find a way for his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to make such a deal and save face with his people.
If he can do that, both sides could reach a deal “tomorrow,” Ezerati argued in a think piece for City Journal.
“Beijing can no longer play the tit-for-tat tariff game with which it once engaged the Trump White House. And because the devaluation has raised the risk of capital flight from China (and with it, longer-term economic difficulties), the currency move also hints at desperation to find immediate relief from the economic pain that the tariffs are inflicting,” he writes.
Ezerati says that the Chinese Communist Party “can ill-afford a trade war” because leaders have guaranteed the Chinese people 6-6.5 percent growth in year-over-year GDP. But as The National Sentinel reported, Chinese growth, manufacturing output, and employment have all taken a hit thanks to the trade war with Washington.
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