China to cut tariffs on some big-ticket imports as it braces for trade war impact

Package of reductions expected to save companies and consumers a combined US$8.7 billion, central government says

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 September, 2018, 10:54pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 September, 2018, 12:11am

China’s cabinet announced on Wednesday that it would cut tariffs on a range of imports, as it braces for the impact from the trade war with the United States.

The latest cuts – to begin in November and covering 1,585 products, including machinery, textiles and construction materials – are in addition to reductions announced earlier this year and are expected to lower costs for companies and consumers by nearly 60 billion yuan (US$8.7 billion), according to a statement by the State Council, China’s cabinet.

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As a result, China’s overall tariff level would fall to 7.5 per cent from 9.8 per cent last year, the statement said.

The measures were announced at a cabinet meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday.

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The biggest cuts will apply to machinery, measuring equipment and other kinds of electromechanical devices, which are among China’s biggest imports. Tariffs on those products will average 8.8 per cent, down from 12.2 per cent last year, while duties on building materials and textiles will fall from 11.5 per cent to 8.4 per cent.

Paper products and other primary products will be given the lowest cuts – from 6.6 per cent to 5.4 per cent.

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The announcement came soon after Washington’s tariffs on an additional US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods came into effect this week.

In retaliation, Beijing slapped additional tariffs on US$60 billion of US products, prompting the administration of US President Donald Trump to threaten duties on virtually all Chinese imports.

In July, China halved import tariffs on 1,500 consumer products, ranging from apparel and cosmetics to home appliances.