Just last week, another round of tariffs on Chinese imports went into effect, placing duties on almost all goods imported into the US, with another round coming on December 15 so as not to put a damper on consumer spending over the holidays.
Sixteen types of USA products will no longer be subject to anti-U.S. levies, among them anti-cancer drugs and lubricants as well as fish meal and animal feed, according to a statement from the Ministry of Finance.
China is not the first to offer exemptions during this trade war.
Analysts have noted that with duties on soya beans and other key imports like US-made cars, China is taking aim at a key political support base of US President Donald Trump, mainly the factories and farms across the Midwest and South at a time of receding momentum in the world's top economy.
Indeed, the exempted list pales in comparison to over 5,000 types of US products that are already subject to China's additional tariffs.
Xi further complained to Abe that while the Trump administration has repeatedly criticized Beijing for supporting state-owned companies with subsidies, "the U.S.is also providing Boeing with subsidies", referring to the Chicago-based USA airplane manufacturer.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) recently reported that shippers responded to the last round of tariff increases on imports from China by front-loading containers into US ports in July, and NRF is projecting that container volumes will rise in October and peak in November.
"I think is was a gesture", he told reporters at the White House. That has battered farmers and manufacturers on both sides and fueled fears a global economy that already was showing signs of a slowdown might tip into recession.
The Trump administration at the first of September imposed 15 percent tariffs on $115 billion worth of Chinese goods and will launch another round of penalties on December 15.
Trump has imposed or announced penalties on about $550 billion of Chinese imports, or nearly everything the United States buys from China.
Both sides imposed fresh tit-for-tat tariffs on Sept 1. Beijing responded by imposing duties of 10% and 5% on a range of American imports.
According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Xi had a telephone conference with Trump on June 18, during which he expressed China's hope that "the USA side can treat Chinese firms in a fair manner".
Talks broke down in May over how to enforce any agreement. Washington says at least some must stay to make sure Beijing carries out any promises.