China Cuts Tariffs on Wide Range of Consumer Goods From July

(Bloomberg) -- China will reduce tariffs on a wide range of consumer goods from July 1, the State Council said in a statement.

The tariff cuts will apply to products including clothes, washing machines and makeup. The reduction was decided at the state council on Wednesday which was chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.

The announcement came after President Donald Trump decided to move ahead with additional tariffs on $50 billion of imports from China, a move that could potentially derail the truce reached last week between the world’s two biggest economies. China hit back at that, with a foreign ministry spokeswoman saying on Wednesday that China would respond accordingly if the U.S. insisted on unilateral measures.

This reductions may help the two nations reach a consensus at trade talks scheduled for this weekend. A team of U.S. officials was scheduled to arrive in Beijing on Wednesday to discuss the broad outline of those talks, but if the two sides failed to reach agreement on what would be discussed, the trip -- led by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross -- could be canceled, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The average levies:

  • On clothing, footwear, and sports gear will be cut to 7.1 percent from 15.9 percent
  • On home appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators will be cut to 8 percent from 20.5 percent
  • On fish, seafood and mineral water will be cut to 6.9 percent from 15.2 percent
  • On makeup and healthcare goods will be cut to 2.9 percent from 8.4 percent

The state council also decided that a negative list for foreign investment will be finished by July 1. This will specify which areas of the economy are off-limits for foreign investors, leaving all others theoretically open.

The government also vowed to protect the legitimate rights of foreign investors and clamp down on infringement and counterfeit acts, and will raise the compensation cap for intellectual property infringement. The cabinet also called for the implementation of the easing or scrapping of restrictions on foreign capital in the manufacturing of cars, ships and planes.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Miao Han in Beijing at mhan22@bloomberg.net

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