China boosts imports with tariff cuts

The Chinese government has called for more attention to increasing imports while stabilizing exports in order to promote more balanced and sustainable growth in foreign trade.

In a clear signal to encourage imports, the State Council, China’s Cabinet, said in a guideline posted on its website yesterday that China will stabilize its imports of commodities and actively increase the imports of advanced technology and equipment, key components and parts, as well as resources and raw materials.

Imports of consumer goods will also be increased “appropriately,” according to the 18-clause guideline.

Increased imports and the balanced development of foreign trade will ease domestic pressures for the resources and environmental sectors, accelerate scientific and technological innovation, improve people’s consumption and reduce trade frictions, said the guideline.

Currently, China is the world’s second-largest importer, and it has been the world’s largest exporter since 2009 when it overtook Germany.

China targets 10 percent annual growth in its foreign trade this year to further improve its international balance of payments, sharply down from 22.5 percent last year when China’s imports and exports hit US$3.64 trillion.

China saw a US$670 million trade surplus in the first quarter, with imports reaching US$160.31 billion, according to customs data.

In the first quarter, China’s imports and exports expanded 7.3 percent from a year ago to reach US$859.37 billion, marking the slowest pace since the fourth quarter of 2009 and showing a growth rate that was 22.3 percentage points lower than that in 2011.

According to the guideline, China will encourage imports from the least-developed countries within multi-lateral trade rules with faster tariff cuts, and it will expand imports from developing countries.

China will lower import tariffs for some resources and raw materials with provisional tax rates and “appropriately” bring down import tariffs for some goods that are closely linked with people’s daily life, the guideline said, without giving further details.


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