Chinese government’s decision on import tariff cuts taking effect next month is estimated to cut the country’s overall tariff from 9.8 percent to 7.5 percent, which, along with other policies will reduce tariffs by close to ¥60 bn ($8,7 bn), according to the State Council.
Experts said this shows China’s determination and fulfillment of its promises that it would further open its market to the outside world and boost free trade.
The decision on tariff cuts covering 1,585 kinds of industrial products was made at an executive meeting chaired by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on September 26.
The cuts, starting November 1, will bring average rate of tariffs on electronic devices and machinery down to 8.8 percent, from the current 12.2 percent, the State Council said.
The average rate of tariffs on construction materials and textiles will be 8.4 percent, and that of commodities made of paper and other primary commodities will be reduced from 6.6 percent to 5.4 percent.
When new tariff policies come into effect, overall tariff China levies is expected to drop to a level that is a bit higher than the EU and lower than many other developing countries, like Mexico, Thailand and Vietnam. China’s overall tariff rate should be medium among developing countries, which is also in line with its status as a developing nation, according to Chen Fengying, a senior researcher at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.
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This new policy is China’s third move this year towards cutting tariffs on imported commodities. The previous two are respectively a State Council executive meeting in May at which decision was made to reduce tariffs on various kinds of daily consumer goods, and a meeting in April during which zero-tariff policy on cancer medicines was finalized.
Over the past five years, China’s contribution to global economic growth has exceeded 30 percent, Premier Li Keqiang said when delivering the Government Work in March.
China imported 7.8 trillion yuan in goods in the period of January to July, a 12.3 percent year-on-year increase, according to statistics from Ministry of Commerce.
It is forecast that China will import about $24 trillion worth of goods in the next 15 years, the country’s state-run news outlet Xinhua News Agency reported.
Tariff cuts work as an important way to boost trade liberalization in such a global context, and China can attract more high-quality products and investment from the world while moving towards industrial transformation and upgrading of its own economy.