Lower tariffs broaden mar­ket ac­cess for im­ports

China Daily European Weekly - - BUSINESS - XIN­HUA

BEI­JING — China has taken solid steps to lower im­port tariffs, send­ing out a strong sig­nal it will keep its prom­ise to fur­ther open­ing-up.

Start­ing on May 1, China re­moved im­port tariffs on all com­mon drugs, in­clud­ing cancer drugs, cancer al­ka­loid-based drugs and im­ported tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine.

It was part of a slew of mea­sures an­nounced re­cently, as the coun­try promised to sig­nif­i­cantly broaden mar­ket ac­cess.

The mea­sures in­clude eas­ing for­eign eq­uity re­stric­tions in the au­to­mo­bile, ship and air­craft in­dus­tries, sig­nif­i­cantly low­er­ing im­port tariffs for au­to­mo­biles and re­duc­ing im­port tariffs on other spec­i­fied prod­ucts.

A timetable for fur­ther open­ing the fi­nan­cial sec­tor was also dis­closed by cen­tral bank Gov­er­nor Yi Gang dur­ing the Boao Fo­rum for Asia an­nual con­fer­ence in Hainan prov­ince in April.

In 2017, China re­duced im­port tariffs on 187 types of con­sumer goods, in­clud­ing cof­fee mak­ers, smart toi­let seat cov­ers, elec­tric tooth­brushes, min­eral wa­ter and oral clean­ing kits.

In 2016 and 2015, im­port tariffs on 787 and 749 types of goods were re­duced, re­spec­tively.

“It is an in­ex­orable trend of China to en­large im­ports to meet con­sump­tion and in­dus­trial up­grad­ing dur­ing the coun­try’s eco­nomic re­struc­tur­ing process,” says Zhang Jun, econ­o­mist with Mor­gan Stan­ley Huaxin Se­cu­ri­ties.

“To ex­pand im­ports and pro­mote trade balance, con­certed ef­forts are needed from both China and ex­port­ing coun­tries, given that some coun­tries have laid bar­ri­ers on their high­tech ex­ports to China,” Zhang says.

For China, “low­er­ing im­port tariffs will un­doubt­edly help in­crease im­ports”, says Xu Hong­cai, an econ­o­mist with the China Cen­ter for In­ter­na­tional Eco­nomic Ex­changes.

Su Jian, an econ­o­mist with Pek­ing Univer­sity, says re­duc­ing im­port tariffs will lead to a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in China’s im­ports.

He also high­lights that China vowed to “ac­tively ex­pand im­ports” in this year’s Govern­ment Work Re­port.

“We will ac­tively ex­pand im­ports, host the first China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo, and lower im­port tariffs on au­to­mo­biles, some every­day con­sumer goods, and so on. We will open our mar­ket wider to pro­mote in­dus­try up­grad­ing and more bal­anced de­vel­op­ment of trade to pro­vide Chi­nese consumers with a broader range of choices,” said Premier Li Ke­qiang in the an­nual Govern­ment Work Re­port.

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