September 20, 2018 / 6:19 AM / 3 months ago

China plans import tariff cuts as soon as October - Bloomberg

BEIJING (Reuters) - China plans to reduce the average tariff rate on imports from most of its trading partners as soon as October, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.

In July, China cut import tariffs on almost 1,500 consumer products ranging from cosmetics to home appliances as part of efforts to open up its economy, the world’s second biggest.

The move was in line with Beijing’s pledge to its trading partners - including the United States - that it would take measures to further increase imports.

The Bloomberg report did not specify the countries that could enjoy lower Chinese tariffs.

At the World Economic Forum in the northern port city of Tianjin, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday that the government will continue to lower import tariffs on some goods. He did not elaborate.

The promise to further lower import tariffs came as China and the United Stated remained locked in a bitter trade dispute that has roiled financial markets and cast uncertainty over global supply chains.

On Tuesday, China added $60 billion of U.S. products to its import tariff list in retaliation for U.S. President Donald Trump’s planned levies on $200 billion (£152 billion) of Chinese goods.

The trade war has started to hit Chinese cities and provinces, especially those that depend on U.S. order books.

While the direct economic impact of the dispute on China has so far been limited, the trade tensions could rapidly push Chinese exporters to switch away from the U.S. market, a former chief of China’s central bank said on Wednesday.

Reporting by Ryan Woo; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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