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​The African swine fever in pig herds

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​The African swine fever in pig herds

China had been severely hit by a pork shortage after African Swine Fever spread across the country’s pig herds. More than a million pigs have been culled to stop further spread of the disease. According to official statistics, prices of the staple meat have more than doubled.

Beijing’s announcement on Monday said tariffs on frozen pork will drop from 12 per cent to 8 per cent from January 1, which may help ease the pressure on the country’s depleted pork supply.

Reuters

​Rising inflation feeds economic woes

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​Rising inflation feeds economic woes

China brought in 229,707 tonnes of pork in November, up more than 150% from the previous year which is a strong measure to boost pig production, while increasing imports of various meats to meet domestic demand.

A rising inflation in food prices in China feeds economic worries. China’s inflation rate rose 1.6 percent in September. The consumer price index, which measures changes in what consumers pay for goods and services, has been edging higher mainly due to higher vegetable and pork prices.

Getty Images

​A fish market for pork

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​A fish market for pork

China faces a debilitating shortage of pork, the country’s favorite meat and staple for past 15 months. China’s pork production has plummeted to an estimated 45%, while the price of pork shot up 101% in October.

In the image: The photo taken on December 19, 2019 (credits: AFP) shows people trying to buy discounted pork at a newly-opened supermarket in Binzhou, in China’s eastern Shandong Province. The supermarket offered 3 tonnes of pork at discounted prices as a promotion.

AFP

​A step towards reviving economy

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​A step towards reviving economy

China will lower tariffs on over 850 products ranging from frozen pork and avocado to some types of semiconductors next year as Beijing looks to boost imports amid a slowing economy and a trade war with the United States.

Next year January onwards, China is set to implement temporary import tariffs, which are lower than the most-favoured-nation tariffs, on more than 850 products.

The tariff changes were made to “increase imports of products facing a relative domestic shortage, or foreign speciality goods for everyday consumption,” the ministry said in a statement on its website.

Reuters

​Easing the trade war

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​Easing the trade war

China and the United States cooled their drawn-out trade war earlier this month, announcing a Phase 1 agreement that would reduce some U.S. tariffs in exchange for more Chinese purchases of American farm products and other goods.

Moreover, China had eventually agreed to buy $200 billion worth of additional American goods and services over the next two years as part of the Phase 1 trade pact to be signed in early January, said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. If the purchases are made, they would represent a huge jump in U.S. exports to China.

AFP

Multiple steps being taken

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Multiple steps being taken

The Chinese government has even promised to open its oil, telecom and power markets wider to private competitors as the ruling Communist Party tries to stir up growth in the sluggish, state-dominated economy.

The Cabinet also promised to give private companies equal treatment with state-owned enterprises in more industries. The statement gave no indication whether the changes apply equally to foreign companies.

AP

​Steel to avocado; tariffs to go down

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​Steel to avocado; tariffs to go down

In order to support its high-tech development, China will also lower temporary import tariffs for ferroniobium – used as an additive to high strength low alloy steel and stainless steel for oil and gas pipelines, cars and trucks – from 1% to zero in 2020. Import tariffs on multi-component semiconductors will be cut to zero.

Besides that, the tariff rate for frozen avocado was cut to 7% from the most-favoured-nation duty of 30%.

Beijing has said the increased purchases are in line with the growing need of the Chinese people, as the country opens its markets further to global trade.Even pharmaceuticals and medical products including asthma and diabetes medications will be set at zero tariff, while duties on some wood and paper products will be lowered too.

AP