China to cut consumer product tariffs, lift financing to boost imports

Shipping containers stacked at the Guangzhou Nansha Container Port in China.
Shipping containers stacked at the Guangzhou Nansha Container Port in China. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China will lower tariffs and step up bank financing to support more imports as the country's massive trade surplus has a negative impact on its citizens, commerce ministry officials told reporters on Thursday (Nov 2).

China runs a vast trade surplus and has been accused by other countries including the United States of protecting domestic firms through unfair trade practices including high import tariffs.

US President Donald Trump is set to visit China next week, with the trade relationship expected to be a major topic of discussion.

"A trade surplus that is too large has a negative impact on Chinese people's enjoyment of national wealth. Only by reducing the trade surplus can Chinese people feel a greater sense of gratification," said Ministry of Commerce vice-minister Fu Ziying.

China will lower import tariffs on consumer products, encourage banks to expand import financing, and increase imports of advanced technological equipment and key components, said Mr Wang Bingnan, another vice-commerce minister.

"The Ministry of Commerce and other departments will further improve and refine policies, and work to create an environment that is fair, law-based, international and simplified business environment, to promote the healthy and stable development of foreign trade," said Mr Wang.

Details were not provided on what kind of products would be effected.

Mr Trump on Wednesday called the US trade deficit with China "embarrassing" and "horrible" ahead of a trip to Asia starting Friday that includes visits to five countries, including China.