Beijing exempts some U.S. agriculture products from tariffs as food inflation hits new high, squeezing Chinese consumers

By Jon Dougherty

(NationalSentinel) The Chinese government is exempting some American agriculture products from new tariffs as food inflation throughout the country hits new highs, squeezing Chinese consumers and slowing economic growth.

China’s annual food price inflation averaged 5.7 percent since the nation opened for trade in 1993, The Epoch Times reported Thursday.



However, Chinese food prices have jumped from 9.1 percent in July to 10 percent in August, recording its highest level since January 2012. Meanwhile, pork inflation also cause prices to climb with a 46.7 percent increase, a substantial rise from the 27 percent price gain in July.

China is the world’s largest agricultural producer, importer and consumer, but its agricultural exports have fallen off by 27 percent over the last 10 years, raising fears over food security, the news site reported.

That has likely fueled the Chinese government’s decision to exempt U.S. soybeans and pork from additional tariffs. The Xinhua news agency reported Friday that the decision will further ease tensions between Beijing and Washington as both sides prepare for a fresh round of trade talks.

The Trump administration has also made conciliatory gestures this week. The president announced Thursday he would delay implementation of a new round of tariff increases until later in October, after China celebrates its National Day, marking its Communist founding in 1949.

Beijing imposed additional tariffs of 25 percent on U.S. agricultural products including soybeans and pork in July 2018. The country then raised tariffs on soybeans a further 5 percent and on pork by a further 10 percent on Sept. 1.

“China supports relevant enterprises buying certain amounts of soybeans, pork and other agricultural products from today in accordance with market principles and WTO rules,” Xinhua reported, noting further that the Customs Tariff Commission of China’s State Council would not place additional tariffs on those items.

“Before the announcement of additional tariff exemptions, Chinese firms bought at least 10 boatloads of U.S. soybeans on Thursday, the country’s most significant purchases since at least June,” The Epoch Times reported.

MarketWatch reported that soybean prices rose to their highest level in a month following China’s announcement.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast U.S. soybean production for the 2019-2020 marketing year at 3.6 billion bushels, down 47 million from its previous forecast, citing a lower yield forecast of 47.9 bushels per acre,” the site added. “The USDA also forecast ending stocks of soybeans at 640 million bushels, down 115 million from last month’s view.”

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