China to halve import tariffs on 1,500 consumer products from July 1

Average duty to fall to 6.9 per cent from 15.7 per cent, with tariffs on drugs, including penicillin, cephalosporin and insulin, set to be slashed to zero

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 June, 2018, 2:05pm
UPDATED : Friday, 01 June, 2018, 11:03pm

China will cut import tariffs on nearly 1,500 consumer products ranging from cosmetics to home appliances from July 1, in a bid to boost imports as part of efforts to open up its economy.

The move would be in step with Beijing’s pledge to its trade partners – including the United States – that it will take steps to increase imports, and offers a boon to global brands looking to deepen their presence in China.

The finance ministry published a detailed list of products affected and their new reduced tax rates on Thursday, following early announcements of the broader plan.

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From next month, the average tariff rate on 1,449 products imported from most favoured nations will be reduced by more than half to 6.9 per cent from 15.7 per cent, the ministry said in a statement on its website.

That followed an announcement from the State Council, China’s cabinet, on Wednesday that it would cut import tariffs on consumer items including apparel, cosmetics, home appliances, and drugs.

The tariff cuts this time are more broad-ranging than previous reductions.

Import tariffs for clothing and footwear, kitchen supplies and fitness products will be more than halved to an average of 7.1 per cent from 15.9 per cent, with those on washing machines and refrigerators slashed to just 8 per cent from 20.5 per cent.

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Tariffs will also be cut on processed foods such as aquaculture and fishing products, and mineral water, from 15.2 per cent to 6.9 per cent.

Cosmetics, and some medical and health products, will also benefit from a tariff cut to 2.9 per cent from 8.4 per cent.

In particular, tariffs on drugs, including penicillin, cephalosporin and insulin, will be slashed to zero from 6 per cent before.

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In the meantime, temporary tariff rates on 210 imported products from most favoured nations will be scrapped as they are no longer favourable compared with new rates.

In December, China cut import taxes on almost 200 consumer products including food, health supplements, pharmaceuticals, garments and recreational goods to 7.7 per cent on average from 17.3 per cent, the finance ministry said.