CHINA will formally announce its list of more than 4,000 items to be subject to an overall 30 per cent tariff reduction next month, according to an official of the State Economic and Trade Commission's Taxation Commission. The official said the list would include all major import items and that none of China's 21 tariff categories would be excluded. The final draft of the list was still under discussion at senior levels of the government, he said. China's 21 tariff categories include: plant and animal products, foodstuffs, liquor and tobacco, minerals, chemicals, plastics, leather goods, lumber and wood by-products such as paper, textiles, shoes and apparel, bulk minerals such as quartz and gypsum plus precious and semi-precious stones, bulk metals such as iron and steel, machinery and electronic appliances, optical and medical equipment, armaments, fine arts, and miscellaneous goods including toys and furniture. Cars and automotive equipment are listed as a major category but the official refused to say if foreign-made cars, now subject to a 300 per cent import duty, would be included in the tariff cuts. 'Vehicles are a specific case - I cannot comment on specific cases,' he said. An economist in Beijing said China's state revenue would not be hit substantially by the planned tariff cut because the government had already granted many import tariff exemptions to foreign investors. China Renmin University financial economics department dean An Tifu said China's actual tariff rates were lower than nominal rates because of numerous import tariff exemptions. 'The actual impact on state revenue will depend on how deep the tariff cut is and also on what kinds of product items,' Mr An said. The tariff cuts to reduce the average tariff of goods imported into China from about 35 per cent to 24 per cent are expected to go into effect from January 1. Analysts said that while the mainland's automotive industry was considered a 'pillar industry', the government might well be forced to reduce tariffs on car imports as a condition of World Trade Organisation (WTO) entry. A Western economic analyst in Beijing said: 'As with all sectors, I think we will just have to wait and see how deep and meaningful these tariff cuts actually are. 'It may just be that Jiang Zemin was just making the right noises to impress his Asia-Pacific colleagues. 'Alternatively, the reformists might indeed have got the upper hand and are pushing for WTO entry as soon as possible. 'Basically all the conditions for trade liberalisation and current account convertibility are in place. 'It just needs the political will to push it all through.' An economist in Hong Kong said the fact that Mr Jiang made such an important announcement during the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation meeting was a strong indication that China not only wanted to join the WTO as soon as possible but also intended to enlarge its involvement in the Asia-Pacific's economic development. Hong Kong Polytechnic University business studies associate professor Priscilla Lau said a strong message was being brought out by Mr Jiang that China harboured a long-term interest in Asia-Pacific economic development and co-operation. 'Intellectual products, technological and capital goods will be the beneficiaries of the tariff cut as China has strong demand for these products from foreign countries,' she said. 'On durable consumer goods, China may cut their tariff too despite most people expecting China not to do so. 'But the percentage may not be substantial. 'However, China will continue to protect its pillar industries by maintaining high tariffs.' Price Waterhouse senior manager Peter Kung said the major beneficiaries of the tariff reduction would be those groups using imported raw materials to make products for the local market.