Lower tariffs planned to lure imports

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 April, 2006, 12:00am

Beijing will lower import tariffs on passenger cars and other foreign goods this year to defuse conflicts with trading partners, a Ministry of Commerce official said.

Huo Jianguo, deputy director-general of the Department of Foreign Trade, told a conference on Saturday that the central government was prepared to lower tariffs on a variety of goods this year to encourage more imports in order to 'reduce trade frictions'.

According to the Hong Kong China News Agency, Mr Huo said Beijing wanted to address the trade friction 'high up the [trading] chain'.

'This year, China will begin to address the problem at the source and adjust our overall development strategy of foreign trade,' Mr Huo was quoted as saying. He said the government was planning to introduce a preferential credit policy to encourage imports.

Mr Huo also disclosed that import tariffs for agricultural products would be lowered from 15.3 per cent to 15.2 per cent this year. Meanwhile, tariffs for sedans, mini-vans and sports utility vehicles would be cut from 30 per cent to 28 per cent. Other products which will benefit include cosmetics, palm oil and auto parts.

Mr Huo, however, did not say when the tariff cuts would be officially announced or implemented.

Countries such as the United States have criticised China for building up a huge trade surplus and have repeatedly urged the mainland to increase imports.

The tariffs plan comes after the government introduced a consumption tax on a wide range of luxury goods.