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China economy

China pledges to cut import tariffs on foreign consumer goods ahead of Trump visit

The US president has been strongly critical of China’s massive trade surplus with America, blaming unfair trade practices including heavy tariffs

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 November, 2017, 12:48pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 November, 2017, 9:00pm

China will lower tariffs and step up bank financing to support more imports as the country’s massive trade surplus has a negative impact on its citizens, commerce ministry officials told reporters on Thursday.

China runs a vast trade surplus and has been accused by other countries including the United States of protecting domestic firms through unfair trade practices including high import tariffs.

US President Donald Trump is set to visit China next week, with the trade relationship expected to be a major topic of discussion.

“A trade surplus that is too large has a negative impact on Chinese people’s enjoyment of national wealth. Only by reducing the trade surplus can Chinese people feel a greater sense of gratification,” said commerce vice-minister Fu Ziying.

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China will lower import tariffs on consumer products, encourage banks to expand import financing and increase imports of advanced technological equipment and key components, said Wang Bingnan, another commerce vice-minister.

“The Ministry of Commerce and other departments will further improve and refine policies, and work to create an environment that is fair, law-based, international and simplified business environment, to promote the healthy and stable development of foreign trade,” Wang said.

Details were not provided on what kind of products would be affected.

Trump on Wednesday called the US trade deficit with China “embarrassing” and “horrible” ahead of a trip to Asia starting on Friday that includes visits to five countries, including China.