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China Cuts Tariffs on More Than 700 Goods

Dec. 24, 2018
This is the third round of tariff cuts announced this year.

China announced another round of tariff cuts, lowering import taxes on more than 700 goods from Jan. 1 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-Favored Nations standard though they are also available to all World Trade Organization members.

Key Insights

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. U.S. exports will get 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 U.S. 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 high-tech imports will be set "relatively low," including at 1% for a type of generator for aircraft, and 5% 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, 2019, including for medical diagnosis machines, speakers and printers, according to a separate table on its website.

The nation will also scrap export tariffs on 94 items of products starting from the new year, including fertilizers, iron ore, coal tar, and wood pulp. Export tariffs on these goods are as high as 40% currently.

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, Georgia already included promises to further lower tariffs in 2019, as does the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement. Imports from Hong Kong, Macau will also enjoy lower taxes.

By Bloomberg News

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