China Eases Pollution Campaign in Move to Offset U.S. Tariff Impact

China’s government announced it is scaling back its pollution control campaign this fall and winter, in an effort to offset the negative impact of U.S. tariffs on the economy.

According to ChemLinked, the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment, with a number of other State Council branches, including the National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and some local provincial governments, jointly issued a notice on the work plan of air pollution control in the autumn and winter between 2018 and 2019 in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area. According to the work plan, the Chinese government will ease up on the pollution control campaign and decrease pressure on local governments and industries to counteract the trade dispute’s strain on economic growth.


The South China Morning Post reported that targets for overall emissions cuts have also been revised down. In the next six months, 28 cities in northern China are required to cut levels of PM2.5 – the tiny airborne particles that are most harmful to human health – by about 3% from a year ago. That is less than the 5% cut proposed in the initial plan, the paper said.

Meanwhile, the new plan stipulates that the number of days of severe air pollution should be reduced by about 3%, also revised down from 5% in last month’s draft, the paper said.

The plan released jointly by central government agencies and six provincial-level regions will turn implementation over to local authorities, who have been told “to avoid the ‘one-size-fits-all’ method when it comes to curtailing the output of polluting industries,” the official Xinhua news agency said.

Last week, the government reported that China’s growth of gross domestic product fell to 6.5% in the third quarter from a year earlier, down from second-quarter growth of 6.7% — the lowest quarterly growth in nearly a decade.

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C S Liew says:

Indeed true that the on-going tariff war between USA and China will indirectly make generic pesticides more available this coming winter compared to the last. Having said that, it’ll be a lull before bigger storms hit the generic agchem supply scene. Containing pollution is the ultimate goal of the Chinese government. International agchem buyers, and Chinese producers, still need a mid to long term strategy in place and not be complacent.

Rebecca Marie says:

Hi Mr. Liew – what bigger storms are you referring to? How long do you think the lull from the eased regulations will last? – Thanks for your insight

C S Liew says:


How long the lull will last is a direct function of how long the current tariff war between China and USA will last OR how well the Chinese economy is doing. If the Chinese economy is going well, the government will continue to fight pollution and close more polluting plants down. Conversely, if the economy is stalling, as it is right now in the light of the tariff war, they will slow down on pollution control in favor of economic growth.

The bigger storms looming are obviously the closure of more polluting plants—the “sitting ducks” that I have referred to in my recent presentation at the Agribusiness Global Trade Summit held in Phoenix and also my article on this topic published in the Agribusiness Global.

And thanks for your interest in my comments and insight.