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China makes small U.S. pork purchase before additional tariffs imposed

CHICAGO, Aug 29 (Reuters) - China made a small purchase of American pork last week, U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed on Thursday, before an additional 10% tariff on farm imports kicks in on Sept. 1.

The world's largest pork consumer and hog producer bought 1,861 tonnes of U.S. pork from Aug. 16 to Aug. 22, up from 220 tonnes a week earlier, according to USDA data.

The purchases come despite escalating trade tensions as China fights an outbreak of a fatal hog disease, African swine fever, that has killed millions of pigs and pushed Chinese pork prices to record highs.

China's commerce ministry said on Thursday it will seek to boost pork imports and also release frozen meat from state reserves to increase supplies.

Beijing last year imposed retaliatory tariffs on imports of U.S. farm products in a tit-for-tat trade war, including current duties of 62% on American pork.

China said on Friday it would apply additional tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods, causing U.S. President Donald Trump to announce new duties on about $550 billion on targeted Chinese goods.

China's Commerce Ministry said on Aug. 5 that Chinese companies stopped buying U.S. farm products in the latest escalation of the trade war.

China made a more significant purchase of U.S. pork between Aug. 2 and Aug. 8, when it bought 10,211 tonnes. (Reporting by Tom Polansek in Chicago Editing by Matthew Lewis)