China announced a list of United States (US) chemicals that will be freed from import tariffs Thursday (12/19) - Photo: Special.

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – China announced a list of United States (US) chemicals that will be freed from import tariffs on Thursday (12/19), just under a week after Beijing and Washington agreed on a trade deal that a dialed down tensions between the two world’s biggest economies.

The two countries have exchanged blows for more than a year, on Friday announced a mini-agreement to reduce some levies in a bruising trade war that has dragged on global growth.

Beijing released a list Thursday of products that will no longer be subject to the tariffs, including certain types of industrial glue and adhesives, industrial polymers and types of paraffin, which can be found in cosmetics and food.

The exemptions will come into force from December 26 until December 25 next year, according to a statement from the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council.

“Duties already imposed on US products would not be refunded, the statement said. “The tariff waivers will apply to four chemical products, such as metallocene high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and a special grade of linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), and refined oil products that include white oil and food-grade petroleum wax.”

Last week’s “phase one” deal saw US President Donald Trump cancel a planned new wave of tariffs on Chinese products, and Beijing in turn saying it would suspend additional measures on US goods.

However, nothing has yet been signed. In September, China said it would exempt 16 categories of US products from tariffs including seafood items and anti-cancer drugs.

China announced earlier this month that it will offer a tariff waiver to “some” imports of major products US soybean and pork. Beijing has increased tariffs on US pork three times since the trade war started.

Separately, Chinese importers bought at least two cargoes of soybeans from the US after receiving another round of tariff-free quota for shipments on Tuesday, traders in both countries said.

The sales, the first since Washington announced an interim trade deal with Beijing last week, may also be China’s last large US purchases before newly harvested soybeans from top supplier Brazil begin hitting the market next month, traders said.

A US trader confirmed AP that two cargoes, or about 120,000 tonnes, were sold on Tuesday. A second U.S trader said four cargoes were sold, and a trader in China said at least six vessels, or more than 400,000 tonnes, were booked.

Despite US assurances that China agreed to ramp up US farm product buying to record levels as part of the phase one deal, sales of soybeans, the most valuable US agricultural export, remain well below historic levels.

Chinese demand for soybeans, which are processed into animal feed and cooking oil, has eroded as half of China’s pig herd has been wiped out by African swine fever.

Market analysts and traders have questioned how Chinese purchases of US agricultural goods and related products, which peaked around US$29 billion in 2013, would hit the US target of $40 billion to $50 billion starting next year.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com