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China's import tariff cuts aim to boost imports, promote trade balance: expert

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BEIJING, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- China lowered the average import tariffs on some goods on Thursday in order to boost imports and promote balanced trade, said an expert with the Ministry of Finance (MOF).

"As global economic growth is slowing, many countries have taken measures to reduce imports. In this instance, China's move to cut tariffs shows its responsibility to the world," said Liu Shangxi, deputy chief of the Research Institute for Fiscal Science under the MOF.

The average tariff on more than 730 kinds of imported goods will be lowered to 4.4 percent as of Jan. 1, 2012, less than half the rate for the most favored nation under WTO rules, the MOF said in a statement on its website on Thursday.

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.

Liu said the imported products enjoying lower tariffs will meet China's production needs and consumer demands.

According to a statement released on Wednesday after the annual central economic work conference, China will strengthen and improve its work in regards to imports, actively boost the country's imports and promote balanced trade in 2012.

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.

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