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China's first tariff exemption lists of US products ease trade friction impact, firms' burden

Updated: Sep 12,2019 09:40    Xinhua

BEIJING — China unveiled the first set of US goods to be excluded from the first round of additional tariffs on US products on Sept 11, which will help effectively deal with economic and trade frictions and ease enterprises' burdens, experts said.

The exemption, which covers two lists with 16 categories of goods, will be valid from Sept 17, 2019, to Sept 16, 2020, the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council said in a statement.

The first list includes 12 categories and allows affected import enterprises to apply for refunds of levied duties within six months starting from Sept 11.

The second list includes four categories that will enjoy the exemption but are not eligible for tariff refunds.

"The tariff exemption mechanism, a common practice used in the United States, Canada and other economies, is helping ease the impact of the China-US economic and trade frictions and enterprises' burdens," according to Chen Huaisheng, a legal expert with the China Chamber of International Commerce.

Zhao Zhiping, deputy secretary general of the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation, said the move would help reduce market fluctuations as the mechanism targets product categories, benefiting not just the applicant, but also other counterparts.

The first batch of tariff exemption applicants totaled over 1,000, and about 300 are qualified, indicating a rather large exemption share.

Chen pointed out that China's tariff exemption mechanism covers more products and more firms as it lists product categories instead of specific products, which is practiced by the United States.

It only took over three months for China to process the first batch of applications, according to Chen. "The high efficiency indicates the Chinese government's responsible attitude to the public and enterprises."

Meanwhile, four categories of agricultural and livestock products were listed to help meet the needs of domestic livestock farming and people's daily consumption, observed Tian Zhihong, a professor with China Agricultural University.

Next, the commission will continue to work on the exemption process and release subsequent lists in due course, according to the statement.

China has launched three rounds of countermeasures to deal with US tariff hikes since July 2018.

China started to accept the second batch of tariff exemption applications on Sept 2, which will stay open until Oct 18. The application details for tariff exemptions of China's third round of tariff countermeasures will be disclosed at a later date.