To boost imports and promote balanced trade, China recently lowered the average import tariffs on 730 families of goods, effective 1/1/2012.
The average tariff on more than 730 kinds of imported goods on the newly released list has been lowered to 4.4 percent as of January 1, 2012, less than half the rate for the most favored nation under WTO rules, China’s Ministry of Finance said in a statement on its website on 12/16/2011.
Imports covered in the low tariff catalogue for 2012 are in 5 categories:
1. Energy products including coal, refined oil, marble, rare earths, etc.
2. Products and parts used in high tier and advanced manufacturing equipment including jet looms, aircraft engines, high voltage power transmission lines, high definition cameras, etc.
3. Products and materials for agriculture production including high power tractors, advanced combines, raw materials for pesticide production, chemical fertilizer, animal feeds, etc.
4. Consumer goods including frozen seafood, infant milk powder, infant formulas, skin products, hair-care products, silvers, kitchen utensils, etc.
5. Public health related products including vaccines, blood serum, hearing aids, X-ray films, etc.
China’s decision to lower the tariffs is not only an outcome of the pressures from its trade partners to balance the trade, but also based on the fact that the imported products, which now have a much easier route to come into the country, are intended to meet China's ever growing production needs and consumer demands.
After China became an official member of the WTO in December 2001, the general level of the country's import tariffs was lowered from 15.3 percent in 2001 to 9.8 percent in 2010.
The official documents released by the China Ministry of Finance regarding the tariff reduction can be found in the following 2 links (in Chinese):
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