24 March 2019
Duties on imported baby formula will remain at 5 percent to help satisfy market demand. Photo: Bloomberg
Duties on imported baby formula will remain at 5 percent to help satisfy market demand. Photo: Bloomberg

POLICY WATCH: China tweaks tariffs to abet economic overhaul

Imported welding robots and 3D printers have made it onto one of the year’s most-watched lists but it’s not necessarily the news their manufacturers were hoping for. The products were among the new categories of items added to those attracting Chinese import duties next year.

The State Council unveiled the 2014 list Monday as part of the government’s support for local manufacturers as well as its ongoing economic restructuring to achieve balanced trade growth.

According to a statement on the central government’s website, tariffs on some 760 imported commodities will be lowered by an average of 60 percent below the benchmark rate for most-favored nations. Cuts will apply to products for emerging industries such as aircraft engines and some emergency rescue equipment.

Duties on imported baby formula will be held at 5 percent to help satisfy market demand. The tariff is well below the standard minimum 15 percent rate set for formula from most-favored nations, according to the document.

But new tariffs will apply to items such as tablet computers, which will be subject to a 70 percent import duty to give local players an edge in the highly competitive market. At the same time, the government has cut duties on some key components used to in tablet computers and smartphones to lower the procurement cost of local gadget makers. The proposed import tax rate for camera modules and other selected components is in the range of 4 percent to 10 percent, which is significantly lower than the standard tariff.

Export tariffs dating back to 2008 will stay in place for a range of key commodities in response to government calls to protect the environment by discouraging exports of power-intensive, high-polluting industries. Among them are coal and crude oil exports, which will continue to have a 10 percent duty.

The 25 percent tariff on ferosilicon and the 20 percent duty on silicon manganese and ferro molybdenum exports remain unchanged, but one ferromoly exporter in Shaanxi province was hopeful the duty on the commodity would be reviewed in the second half of next year.

Export duties for fertilizer will be cut to 5 percent from the benchmark of at least 10 percent, the document said.

The government has also raised the benchmark for its sliding-scale tariffs on cotton from 14,000 yuan (US$2,290) per tonne in 2013 to 15,000 yuan in 2014. At this price or above, a fixed duty of 570 yuan per tonne will be applied. For fibre valued at less than 15,000 yuan per tonne, the duties will be calculated according to a sliding-scale formula at a tax rate between 5 and 40 percent.

– Contact the reporter at [email protected]


    EJ Insight writer

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