China announced today that it will cut tariffs on some American goods being imported into the country beginning on January 1, a sign that the trade war between the two nations is cooling, Reuters reported.
China’s finance ministry confirmed that the tariff structure on several types of products coming into the country will be changed at the beginning of 2020. Currently, China imposes “most favored nation” trade tariffs on hundreds of American products. However, the new tariff structure, called “temporary import tariffs,” will levy lower tariffs in a bid to boost China’s economy as the trade war cools.
One example of the reported changes is how frozen pork will be taxed. The product is slated to be hit with an eight percent tariff under the new structure, rather than the previous 12 percent. The move indicates that China is looking to import more foreign pork — much of it coming from the U.S. — after a hog disease decimated its own herd.
The pork shortage in China got so bad that in November the country imported 229,707 tons of foreign pork, up 150 percent from the previous November. China has imported 1.733 million tons of foreign pork this year, up 58 percent from the previous year.
Meanwhile, China has instituted several measures to increase its domestic pig herd, while at the same time importing other foreign meats to meet demand.
Other American products that will be facing a different Chinese tariff structure in the new year include avocados and semiconductors.
Overall, 805 categories of products will be met with a lower tariff in the coming year, as opposed to 706 types of products that were taxed at lower rates in 2019.
“[The tariff changes were made to] increase imports of products facing a relative domestic shortage, or foreign specialty goods for everyday consumption,” the finance ministry said in a statement.
The change in tariffs comes as the ongoing trade war between China and the U.S. cools. The recent changes are seen as the next step in a process that began when the two sides agreed to implement the so-called “Phase One” agreement a month ago. For this phase, Washington agreed to reduce the tariffs on some Chinese goods being imported into the U.S. in exchange for Beijing relaxing the tariffs on some American products, most notably agricultural products.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the trade war between the U.S. and China has taken a toll on American farmers, particularly in the Midwest. Grain has sat in storage facilities, with farmers unable to sell it, as China sought out agricultural products from elsewhere due to the Trump administration tariffs.