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    How China tariffs on US commodities, energy stand after Phase 1 trade deal

    How China tariffs on US commodities, energy stand after Phase 1 trade deal

    How China tariffs on US commodities, energy stand after Phase 1 trade deal
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    By Reuters  IST (Updated)

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    A senior Trump administration official confirmed on Wednesday that China will need to issue waivers or adjustments to tariffs to meet its buying commitments.

    China and the United States have agreed to terms of a Phase 1 trade deal on January 15 but Beijing has not reduced or waived tariffs on any commodities or energy further.
    A senior Trump administration official confirmed on Wednesday that China will need to issue waivers or adjustments to tariffs to meet its buying commitments.
    But so far Beijing has not committed to any new waivers or adjustments.
    Late last year, the United States reduced some tariffs and Beijing cancelled retaliatory duties that were scheduled to take effect on December 15.
    Before December 15, 2019, deal,  US corn, sorghum, wheat, undenatured ethanol and refined copper cathodes had faced an additional tariff of 10 percent on shipments to China. Propane, cotton, aluminium scrap, copper scrap and rare earth magnets were all set for an additional 5 percent duty.
    Below is a list and timeline showing how China's tariffs on key  US commodities and energy items stand after the Phase 1 accord.
    CRUDE OIL
    China imposed a 5 percent tariff on  US crude oil shipments from Sept. 1, 2019, the first time  US oil had been targeted since the trade war between started more than a year ago. The 5 percent tariff was not affected by the Phase 1 deal.
    China, the world's biggest crude importer, has cut  US shipments from a record high in 2018. Chinese customs data showed imports in the first 11 months of 2019 fell by nearly half year-on-year to 6.35 million tonnes. Full year imports by origin will be available at the end of January.
    PROPANE
    China already removed an additional 5 percent tariff on  US propane shipments that was set to take effect from December 1, 2019. A 25 percent duty that China imposed on  US propane on August 23, 2018, has remained in place. No new waivers came into effect on January 15.
    Chinese firms process  US propane into petrochemicals such as propylene. Imports in 2018 were worth an estimated $2 billion. The punitive tariffs nearly killed the business in the first 11 months of 2019, with imports from the  US at 2,443 tonnes.
    LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS (LNG)
    China imposed a 10 percent punitive tariff on  US LNG shipments in September 2018, raising it to 25 percent in June 2019. LNG duties were not affected by the Jan 15 deal.
    Imports of the super-chilled fuel from the  US in the first 11 months of 2019 were 258,955 tonnes, much lower than the 2.15 million tonnes imported in the 12 months of 2018, according to Chinese customs. This is a tiny fraction compared to China's total LNG imports in the January-November 2019 period at 53.85 million tonnes.
    METHANOL, ETHYLENE GLYCOL (MEG)
    China imposed tariffs of 25 percent on  US methanol and MEG in June 2019. They were not affected by the Jan 15 2020 deal.
    Imports of  US methanol from January to November 2019 dropped to 109 tonnes compared with 75,118 tonnes in full-year 2018. China imported only 69,600 tonnes of  US MEG in the first 11 months of 2019, compared with 147,890 tonnes bought through the whole year of 2018.
    These were also a tiny part of China's total January-November 2019 methanol imports at 9.7 million tonnes and MEG imports at 9.03 million tonnes.
    SOYBEANS
    No additional duties have been removed as of Jan 15 but there have been some hefty goodwill waivers on tariffs in recent months.
    A 25 percent tariff on soybeans in July 2018 had halted all buying by commercial buyers, but Chinese crushers went back to the  US market following a trade truce in December 2018. An additional 5 percent duty came into effect in September. The Chinese government has given tariff exemptions to some  US soybean imports.
    China bought 13.85 million tonnes of soybeans from the United States in January-November, down 16.4 percent from same period in 2018.
    PORK
    American pork faces total import duties of 72 percent after including the 12 percent "most-favoured-nation" tariff. These duties were not changed in the Jan. 15 deal, but China is expected to boost  US meat imports. An outbreak of African swine fever in China has decimated the world's largest pig herd and sent domestic pork prices soaring to record levels.
    Total import tariffs on  US frozen pork went down to 68 percent from Jan. 1, after a cut in tariff rates on frozen pork shipments from all countries. This did not apply to carcasses, chilled pork and offal.
    US pork exports to China and Hong Kong were up 49 percent year-on-year in value at $1.18 billion from January to November 2019.
    SCRAP METAL
    No changes to duties on scrap metal on Jan 15. An additional duty of 5 percent on  US aluminium scrap, which would have been effective on Dec. 15, 2019, was cancelled last month. The material was already affected by an initial 25 percent tariff in April 2018, followed by another 25 percent in August 2018.
    Shipments of aluminium scrap to China were down only 19.7 percent year-on-year in the first 11 months of 2019, but those of  US scrap copper, subject to a 25 percent tariff since August 2018, crashed by 75.7 percent over the same period.
    RARE EARTHS
    China in 2019 raised the prospect of restricting rare earth exports to the United States but has not announced any formal curbs or export duties. In the other direction, it has levied 25 percent tariffs on imports of  US rare earth ore and rare earth magnets since June 2019 but cancelled an additional 5 percent tariff on the latter that was due to take effect in December 2019.
     
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