China's new tariff cuts take effect, to help increase imports

A customer browsing imported items at a store in Qingdao on June 1, 2018. China announced new tariff cuts on consumer goods and cars on July 1, 2018.
A customer browsing imported items at a store in Qingdao on June 1, 2018. China announced new tariff cuts on consumer goods and cars on July 1, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (XINHUA) - China on Sunday (July 1) introduced huge new tariff cuts covering consumer goods and automobiles, to help increase imports.

Tariffs on 1,449 taxable consumer goods were reduced from an average rate of 15.7 per cent to 6.9 per cent, including home appliances, food and beverage, cosmetics and medicines, according to the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council.

It was the fifth round of tariff cuts for consumer goods since 2015.

"Significantly reducing the import tariffs for daily consumer goods is conducive to expanding China's opening-up and serves as a major measure and action of the country's initiative to open its market," the commission said earlier in a statement.

Meanwhile, vehicles and auto parts also saw marked tariff reductions. The 20-25 per cent tariffs for cars were cut to 15 per cent, and duties on auto parts were lowered to 6 per cent from the previous levels of 8-25 per cent.

Analysts believe the intensive measures will help China meet increasing domestic demand, achieve balanced trade and share development dividends with rest of the world.

"Widened access for foreign goods will allow Chinese consumers to enjoy more quality products and prompt domestic companies to improve their competitiveness," said researcher Zhang Jianping at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

The move was part of China's recent measures to further open up its economy, as the country embraces the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening-up drive, the first and foremost factor behind its economic success.

China has been the world's second largest importer of goods for nine consecutive years, and took 10.2 per cent of global imports last year. Chinese authorities expect the country to import goods worth US$24 trillion (S$33 trillion) in the next 15 years.

The first China International Import Expo will be held in Shanghai in November to push forward trade and economic growth.