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China to waive tariffs for some U.S. soybeans, pork

BEIJING — China will waive import tariffs for some soybeans and pork shipments from the United States, China’s finance ministry said on Friday, citing a decision by the country’s cabinet.

The tariff waivers were based on applications by individual firms for U.S. soybeans and pork imports, the ministry said in a statement. It did not specify the quantities involved.

China imposed tariffs of 25% on both U.S. soybeans and pork in July 2018 as a countermeasure to tariffs levied by Washington over allegations that China steals and forces the transfer of American intellectual property to Chinese firms.

The waiver comes amid negotiations between the United States and China to conclude a ‘phase one’ or interim deal to de-escalate a 17-month trade war between the two countries. Lifting tariffs on each other’s goods is a key part of those talks.

China has also been scouring the world for more meat to fill a big shortage of protein after an outbreak of African swine fever devastated its massive hog herd, cutting supplies of pork.

(Reporting by Min Zhang, Huizhong Wu and Dominique Patton; writing by Se Young Lee; editing by Richard Pullin)