China cuts duties on range of imported items, aiming to boost trade and unleash domestic consumption

By Yang Kunyi and Wang Cong Source:Global Times Published: 2019/4/8 21:13:40

Move aims to boost and balance trade, unleash domestic consumption

Consumers look at shelves of imported US goods in a store in Shanghai in September 2018. Photo: VCG

China will cut import duties on a wide range of goods including books, computers and digital cameras from Tuesday, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Finance on Monday, a move that aims to pursue balanced international trade relationships and boost domestic consumption, said experts.

According to the announcement, imported goods in three categories will see their duties decline. The type-1 list, which includes books, computers, digital cameras and food, beverages and toys, will face duties at a rate of 13 percent, compared with 15 percent previously. 

Import duties on goods listed in type 2 are cut to 20 percent from 25 percent previously. The goods in this group include sports facilities (excluding golf equipment), fishing equipment, fabrics and textile products. 

Import duties on goods on the type-3 list, which includes cigarettes, alcoholic beverages and jewelry, remain at 50 percent, according to the announcement.

According to analysts, the move to cut the import duties is a sign that China is pursuing more robust international trade relationships with its partners while also trying to release the domestic consumption potential.

China has vowed to expand imports as domestic demand for high-quality imported goods continues to grow and as a rising number of countries complain about their trade deficits with China. 

Though announced at a time when China and the US are negotiating a trade agreement to end the tariff war, the move is not aimed at addressing US concerns alone, said Wang Jun, deputy director of the department of information at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

"It would be farfetched to assume that this only concerns the US," Wang told the Global Times on Monday. "This is a move to show that China wants to pursue balanced trade with trading partners, not just the US."

In the first two months of 2019, China's imports grew 1.5 percent year-on-year, far outpacing a 0.1 percent gain in exports, which brought down China's trade surplus by 8.7 percent year-on-year to 308.7 billion yuan ($45.95 billion), according to Chinese customs data.

As domestic demand for higher-end products rises, the move is also a part of broader efforts by China to boost domestic consumption amid downward pressure on the economy, according to Sun Lijian, a professor of economics at Fudan University in Shanghai.

"Increasing imports will also help realize the massive potential of domestic consumption," Sun told the Global Times on Monday.
Newspaper headline: China cuts duties on range of imported items


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