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Chinese Buyers Seek Tariff Exemptions for U.S. Farm Goods

Shamim Adam and Dominic Lau

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Some Chinese companies are applying for tariff exemptions as they make inquiries about buying U.S. agricultural products, more than a week after President Donald Trump complained that China hasn’t increased its purchases of American farm products.

The applications will be evaluated by experts appointed by the Customs Tariff Commission, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. China and the U.S. are implementing the agreement reached by Trump and President Xi Jinping when they met in Japan last month, the report said.

Trump last week reiterated that he could impose additional tariffs on Chinese imports if he wants, after saying China wasn’t buying the large volumes of U.S. agricultural goods that he claims Xi promised to purchase. The two leaders agreed then to a truce in their ongoing trade conflict after talks collapsed in May.

"In order to meet the needs of Chinese consumers, Chinese enterprises are willing to continue importing certain agricultural products from the United States that are marketable in China," Xinhua said. Chinese authorities "expressed hope" that the U.S. will meet it halfway and "earnestly implement its commitments," the report said.

Senior U.S. and Chinese officials spoke by phone last week, the second call since the late June summit in Osaka.

The planned purchase of American farm products -- which adds to recent gestures of goodwill between both sides -- indicates U.S.-China trade talks will restart soon, Global Times Editor-in-Chief Hu Xijin said in a tweet. The Global Times is a Chinese tabloid run by the People’s Daily, which is the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party. Hu has said the paper voices opinions that official sources can’t.

There are still deep differences between the two nations, with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross cautioning the negotiations would be a “long, involved process.” Another major sticking point for any resumed negotiations will be how exactly the U.S. will ease trade restrictions on Chinese technology giant Huawei Technologies Co.

To contact the reporters on this story: Shamim Adam in Singapore at sadam2@bloomberg.net;Dominic Lau in Hong Kong at dlau92@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Shamim Adam at sadam2@bloomberg.net, Andrew Davis

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