White House exempts dozens of Chinese goods from tariffs

The Trump administration on Friday exempted dozens of Chinese products from tariffs as the U.S. and China seek to ease tensions and revive negotiations to end their trade war.

The White House Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) published three lists of Chinese goods to be exempted from 25 percent tariffs imposed by President Trump since 2018.

{mosads}The exemptions, which cover three tranches of tariffs totaling $250 billion in goods, are the latest in a series of measures taken by Trump and Beijing to lower tensions in the U.S.-China trade war.

The USTR said it exempted certain products from tariffs based on whether a specific good was readily available from sources outside of China, could cause economic harm if subject to higher import taxes and was strategically important to Beijing’s industrial programs.

Exempted products include a wide range of steel, aluminum, plastic and vinyl-based construction supplies and equipment, electrical and plumbing materials, tools and other heavy machinery.

Consumer goods now freed from tariffs include retractable dog leashes and harnesses, Christmas lights, bicycles, tiki torches, certain grill equipment and a variety of refrigerators, freezers and coolers.

While the covered goods represent just a fraction of the more than $300 billion in Chinese products subject to Trump’s tariffs, the exemptions mark another measure of goodwill between the U.S. and China.

Both nations have sought to revive negotiations to end their increasingly costly trade war, which has weighed heavily on a slowing global economy. Chinese officials are meeting this week with their U.S. counterparts in Washington and are scheduled to visit farmers in Montana and Nebraska, who have suffered under Beijing’s tariffs on U.S. crops and livestock.

Trump last week delayed an increase of tariffs on Chinese goods from Oct. 1 to Oct. 15 after Beijing announced it would exempt more than a dozen U.S. products from its own pending import tax hikes. 

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