China cuts tariffs on more than 700 goods in bid to open up economy and lower domestic consumer costs

  • Ministry of Finance will implement zero tariffs on imports of a variety of meals including sunflower and canola as well as pharmaceutical manufacturing materials
  • Taxes on hi-tech imports will be set ‘relatively low’ as Beijing seeks to implement President Xi Jinping’s promises amid trade war with the United States
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 December, 2018, 11:29am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 December, 2018, 11:29am

China will lower import taxes on more than 700 goods from January 1 in another round of tariff cuts as part of its efforts to open up the economy and lower costs for domestic consumers.

There will also be cuts to some export tariffs, and temporary import tariff rates will be as low as zero for some goods, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement on Monday.

The temporary rates can be changed ad hoc and can be lower than the current Most-favoured nations (MFN) standard, although they are also available to all World Trade Organisation members.

This is the third round of tariff cuts announced this year as China looks to cut costs for consumers and implement President Xi Jinping’s promises to open up further.

US exports will receive the benefit of the reductions as well, although most products will still be subject to the retaliatory tariffs until there is a breakthrough in the ongoing talks. 

With tariffs on US soybeans stopping a key source of edible meal often used for animal feed, China will implement zero tariffs on imports of a variety of meals including sunflower and canola.

Some materials for pharmaceutical manufacturing will also be subject to zero tariffs, and taxes on hi-tech imports will be set “relatively low,” including at 1 per cent for a type of generator for aircraft, and 5 per cent for a type of welding robots used in car assembly lines.

The ministry said MFN tariffs will be further cut for a wide-range of information technology imports starting from July 1, including medical diagnosis machines, speakers and printers.

China says it has made ‘new progress’ in trade war talks

The nation will also scrap export tariffs on 94 items of products starting from the new year, including fertilisers, iron ore, coal tar and wood pulp, with export tariffs currently as high as 40 per cent.

Imports from nations that have reached a trade pact with China will be levied at the rates agreed by both sides.

China’s bilateral deals with New Zealand, Peru, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Iceland, South Korea, Australia and Georgia already included promises to further lower tariffs in 2019, as does the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement.

Imports from Hong Kong and Macau will also enjoy lower taxes.