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Trade war

US grants nearly 1,000 exemptions from China tariffs

Industrial machinery and electronics parts among imports excluded in initial round

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, whose office recently approved the first tariff exclusions.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The Trump administration has granted nearly 1,000 exemptions to tariffs on Chinese goods, according to a list published by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

The U.S. has imposed additional duties three times on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods as sanctions for alleged intellectual property theft. The USTR has received exclusion requests for items that meet certain conditions -- the product can only be procured from China, for example -- but had yet to grant any in its previous list on Dec. 20 due to screening delays.

The exceptions, made public on Saturday, apply to select products among $34 billion worth of Chinese industrial machinery and electronics parts that have faced extra tariffs of 25% since July. The USTR received more than 10,000 exclusion requests through October. It has rejected more than 1,000 and appears to be still screening the rest. The exemptions are valid for one year, starting retroactively from July 6, when the additional tariffs took effect.

Papermaking equipment, conveyor belt components and thermostats for air conditioners are among the exempt products. Among the Japanese companies granted exceptions are NSK, NTN, and MinebeaMitsumi, for bearings, and Stanley Electric and Sumitomo Riko, for injection moldings.

The USTR will continue to gradually announce the results of completed screenings. No exclusions have been granted from additional duties in August on goods like semiconductors, while the USTR has yet to accept requests for levies imposed in September.

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