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China says it will lift punitive tariffs on U.S. soybeans and pork

China will lift punitive tariffs imposed on U.S. soybeans and pork in a trade war with Washington, a state news agency said Friday, in a possible goodwill gesture ahead of negotiations.

The Xinhua News Agency, citing unidentified official sources, said soybeans, pork and some other farm goods will be exempt from tariff hikes. It gave no indication whether or when purchases might resume.

Phone calls to the commerce and finance ministries weren't answered on Friday, a national holiday in China.

Beijing imposed tariffs of 25% on American farm goods and ordered importers to stop buying soybeans, the biggest U.S. export to China, in response to President Donald Trump's tariff hikes on Chinese goods.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump said the U.S. will delay by two weeks a planned increase in tariffs on some Chinese imports, which he described as "a gesture of good will." The delay could signal a de-escalation of tensions ahead of trade negotiations that are slated to resume in Washington next month, although expectations are tempered, analysts said. 

A Commerce Ministry spokesman said Thursday that importers were asking American suppliers for prices of soybeans and pork. The spokesman did not say if they were planning to place orders.

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