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China to keep low import tariffs in 2012

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BEIJING, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- China will keep import tariffs at a low level next year as part of its course to promote balanced trade by boosting imports, according to a government statement released on Thursday.

The average tariffs on more than 730 categories of imported goods will stand at 4.4 percent in 2012, less than half the rate for the most favored nation under WTO rules, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said in a statement on its website.

Imports covered in the low tariff catalogue for 2012 include energy products such as coal, refined oil and rare earths, sophisticated equipment-making products, and parts and facilities used in emerging industries ranging from high-definition cameras to high-voltage transmission lines.

Farm produce, consumer goods like baby formulas, and public health products such as vaccines and serums are also included.

In 2012, China will maintain import quotas on seven types of farm produce and three kinds of chemical fertilizers. Temporary tariffs on chemical fertilizers which exceed the quota will be set at 1 percent.

The tariff adjustment, which has been approved by the State Council, or China's Cabinet, aims to strengthen the government's macro-regulation and helps to promote economic restructuring, the statement said.

To boost regional and bilateral trade, China will continue to lower tariffs on imports from ASEAN countries, Chile, Pakistan, New Zealand, Peru, Costa Rica, the Republic of Korea, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, based on relevant signed free trade agreements.

China will also maintain special favorable tariffs for the 40 least developed countries, including Laos, Sudan and Yemen.

To meet its growing and diversified demand, China has expanded the import catalogue from this year's 7,977 to 8,194 next year, including additions of items like wireless earpieces and other medical instruments.

To save energy and promote sustainable development, China will continue to impose tariffs on exports of energy-intensive products such as coal and crude oil.

The adjustments will be effective from Jan. 1, 2012.

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