China cuts import tariffs on almost 200 consumer goods

  • 24 November 2017
  • From the section Business

Chinese shoppers in BeijingImage copyright
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China is cutting import tariffs on 187 consumer goods from whisky to cashmere clothing to help spur spending and economic growth.

The Finance Ministry said tariffs will drop from an average 17.3% to 7.7% on products, including pharmaceuticals, food, health supplements and clothing.

The cut will take effect from the beginning of December.

The move is designed to encourage consumers to spend more at home rather than on trips overseas.

“Welcome boost”

It is thought to be part of a shift towards creating a consumption-driven economy, and signalling to the world, especially the US, that it is opening up its economy.

US President Donald Trump has long complained of unfair trade practices by China and wants to reduce America’s deficit with the country.

Domestically, there is increasing demand for foreign brands, especially after a number of food-safety scandals.

China’s move was welcomed by Scotch whisky producers, who will see their tariff fall from 10% to 5%.

Rosemary Gallagher, from the Scotch Whisky Association, said China was an important market for the spirit.

“In the first six months of 2017, demand for Scotch in China jumped as the economy grew, with direct exports alone up 45% to £27m.

“A cut in tariffs will give another welcome boost to Scotch and should encourage the premium Scotch whisky market to continue to expand,” she added.

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