Experts' take on China's first-ever tariff exclusion lists
Wang Mengzhen

For the very first time, Beijing announced tariff exclusion lists to exempt certain items from China's countermeasures against U.S. Section 301. This move aims to protect Chinese businesses and consumers from collateral damage in the ongoing China-U.S. trade war. 

From September 17, 16 types of products from the U.S. will be immune to China's additional tariffs for one year. At the same time, 12 of them will also enjoy a refund of tariffs already paid by the companies. 

What products are on the lists?

According to a statement from the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council on Wednesday, the first batch of items include American raw materials that are crucial to companies' business activities including alfalfa, prawn seedlings in agriculture, lubricants in manufacturing, and crude drugs for cancer treatment among others.

VCG Photo

VCG Photo

Why them?

Experts in related industries explain why they were chosen.

"Criteria for those from the exclusion include products that are hard to find substitutes. And the imposition of additional duties could severely harm the applying companies and the related industries," said Chen Huaisheng, an expert at China Chamber of International Commerce.

"Five out of the sixteen items on the list are agricultural products. This time, we mainly targeted livestock breeding and cultivation industries, which have seen an increasing demand among Chinese consumers. These chosen products have heavily relied on imports from America as their single source. But the majority of our agricultural products could easily find substitutes elsewhere," said Professor Tian Zhihong from China Agricultural University. 

VCG Photo

VCG Photo

It has only been three months since companies' applications in June to the announcement today. That's why experts say the lists are highly efficient. As for why the exemption period is one year, experts say that represents Chinese authorities' hope for some tangible result on the China-U.S. trade talk and the open attitudes towards a possible trade deal as well.

On the other hand, Washington has already put in place eight tariff exclusion lists to exempt certain Chinese imports from additional tariffs.

Now work is already underway on a second batch of lists. Companies have until mid-October to submit their proposed items for evaluation before another announcement.