Wide-rang­ing tar­iff re­duc­tions of­fer op­por­tu­ni­ties to cut costs, en­sure growth

China Daily - - BUSINESS - By ZHONG NAN zhong­nan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s new tar­iff cuts cov­er­ing a wide range of items from air­craft en­gines to sun­glasses and whisky, which be­came ef­fec­tive on Jan 1, will help both global and home com­pa­nies save op­er­at­ing costs and main­tain ro­bust growth, said ex­perts and busi­ness ex­ec­u­tives.

Many op­por­tu­ni­ties came af­ter the coun­try an­nounced duty ad­just­ment on 706 im­port items last week. It has in­tro­duced zero tar­iffs on some raw ma­te­ri­als for the pro­duc­tion of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal prod­ucts, re­moved the pro­vi­sional im­port tax rate for im­ports of lithium-ion bat­tery monomers for new en­ergy ve­hi­cles and re­sumed the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the most fa­vored na­tion tar­iff rate.

Sig­nif­i­cantly cut­ting im­port tar­iffs for daily con­sumer goods such as in­fant for­mula milk pow­der and au­to­mo­biles is con­ducive to ex­pand­ing China’s re­form and open­ing-up, and serves as a ma­jor mea­sure and ac­tion in the coun­try’s ini­tia­tive to fur­ther open its mar­ket, said Song Xian­mao, deputy di­rec­tor-gen­eral of the for­eign trade depart­ment at the Min­istry of Com­merce.

The tar­iff re­duc­tion will al­low con­sumers cheaper ac­cess to high­qual­ity or spe­cialty prod­ucts that can­not be pro­duced at home to meet in­creas­ing do­mes­tic de­mand, he said.

Rahul Co­laco, pres­i­dent of Dutch dairy pro­ducer Fries­landCamp­ina China, agreed. He said sales of pre­mium dairy prod­ucts will grow in China as peo­ple de­mand a wider range of high-qual­ity food and bev­er­ages.

“Con­sumers in China are very de­mand­ing, and the gen­er­a­tion gap of con­sumers is be­com­ing smaller. More peo­ple are will­ing to pay for pre­mium, ul­tra-pre­mium and in­no­va­tive dairy prod­ucts,” said Co­laco.

Con­sump­tion has con­trib­uted 78 per­cent of the coun­try’s eco­nomic growth in the first three quar­ters of 2018, and about 400 mil­lion mid­dlein­come earn­ers are seek­ing more im­ported high-qual­ity goods and ser­vices, ac­cord­ing to data re­leased by the Min­istry of Com­merce.

“Widened ac­cess for for­eign goods, es­pe­cially in­dus­trial ma­te­ri­als and prod­ucts, will al­low do­mes­tic man­u­fac­tur­ers to gain more qual­ity prod­ucts in an rel­a­tively cheaper way and prompt them to im­prove their com­pet­i­tive­ness,” said Lou Qil­iang, vice-pres­i­dent of China Rail­way Rolling Stock Corp, the coun­try’s man­u­fac­turer of lo­co­mo­tives and rolling stock.

“It will help the coun­try meet in­creas­ing do­mes­tic de­mand, achieve bal­anced trade and share devel­op­ment div­i­dends with the rest of the world,” he said.

China con­ducted five large-scale tar­iff re­duc­tions in 2018, in­clud­ing start­ing to grant zero-tar­iff rates to im­ported can­cer treat­ment drugs in May, cut­ting im­port tar­iffs on ve­hi­cles and auto parts in 218 tax items start­ing on July 1, and low­er­ing the im­port du­ties on 1,585 tax items in the cat­e­gories of me­chan­i­cal and elec­tri­cal equip­ment, spare parts, raw ma­te­ri­als and other in­dus­trial prod­ucts from Nov 1, data from the Min­istry of Com­merce show.

“We have al­ready seen many mea­sures put in place since ear­lier 2018, such as low­er­ing tar­iffs on im­ported prod­ucts and re­duc­ing the neg­a­tive list,” said Chris­tian Har­tel, mem­ber of the ex­ec­u­tive board of Wacker Chemie AG, the Ger­man chem­i­cals and tech­nol­ogy com­pany.

He said these are clear sig­nals of China’s de­ter­mi­na­tion on mar­ket open­ing. The com­pany is en­cour­aged to see these mea­sures. And it is ex­pand­ing its re­search and devel­op­ment ca­pac­ity in China to serve an open mar­ket with more im­proved busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment.

To meet the needs of the ex­port man­age­ment sys­tem re­form and pro­mote the oper­a­tional ef­fi­ciency of the en­ergy sec­tor, the Min­istry of Fi­nance also an­nounced that China has also stopped levy­ing tar­iffs on 94 com­modi­ties such as fer­til­iz­ers, ap­atite, iron ore, slag, coal tar and wood pulp, from Jan 1.

Con­sumers in China are very de­mand­ing, and the gen­er­a­tion gap of con­sumers is be­com­ing smaller.” Rahul Co­laco, pres­i­dent of Dutch dairy pro­ducer Fries­landCamp­ina China

YU FANGPING / FOR CHINA DAILY

A con­sumer chooses fruit juice at a store sell­ing im­ported goods in Qing­dao, Shan­dong prov­ince.

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