China announced the first group of products for exclusion from the initial round of additional tariffs on United States imports scheduled to take effect on Tuesday, the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council said in a statement on Wednesday.
In the statement, the commission unveiled two tariff exclusion lists of 16 items, including fish meal, raw materials used in cancer drugs and some lubricants.
All items on the two lists will be excluded from additional tariffs for a year up to Sept 16, 2020. That means the items will not be subject to additional tariffs imposed by China on U.S. products as countermeasures to U.S. Section 301 measures.
For the 12 items on the first list, tariffs already levied are eligible for refunds. The affected enterprises can apply for refunds within the next six months, the statement said.
The four items on the second list can be excluded from tariffs but are not eligible for refunds.
The statement said the commission will continue to work on the exclusion of additional tariffs on U.S. products, and the lists of the subsequent groups will be released in due course.
Experts said the measure is important because it will to some extent ease the impact of the China-U.S. trade disputes for enterprises in both countries.
Chen Huaisheng, an expert at the China Chamber of International Commerce's legal services department, said the measure will support the development of relevant companies and boost their confidence.
"We have heard opinions and feedback from the corporate sector, and they expect the exclusion will reduce a potential negative impact from the additional U.S. tariffs," Chen said.
The measure can also help enterprises to control production costs, especially for some importers in the agricultural and chemical industries, and to stabilize market supply of certain products, said Tian Zhihong, an economics professor at China Agricultural University.
China decided to initiate the exclusion process for additional tariffs on U.S. products on May 13. The first-round applications, from enterprises, business associations or chambers of commerce in China, were accepted from June 3 to July 5, the commission said.
The work of accepting applications for exclusion from the second round of additional tariffs on U.S. products is ongoing, with the deadline set for Oct 18, it added. The second round was worth $60 billion, taking effect in September last year, after the U.S. began imposing additional 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products the same day.
The tariff exclusion process for the third round of additional tariffs on U.S. imports will be launched at an appropriate time, according to the Customs Tariff Commission.