Straits Herald December 23, 2019

Beijing will lower import tariffs on over 850 products including frozen pork from January next year, the finance ministry said Monday, which may help ease the pressure on the country’s depleted pork supply.

China has been hit by a severe pork shortage after African Swine Fever tore through the country’s pig herds. More than a million pigs have been culled due to the disease, according to official statistics, and prices of the staple meat have more than doubled.

Monday’s announcement said tariffs on frozen pork will drop from 12 percent to 8 percent from January 1.

According to the announcement from the Tariff Commission of the State Council, the changes will optimise “the trade structure and promote the high-quality development of the economy.”

Other products which will have lower import tariffs include food products — such as fish, cheese and nuts — pharmaceuticals and a range of chemical products.

China said from July 1 next year, it will also further reduce some tariffs on some technology products, said the ministry in a statement on its website.

Goods from countries including New Zealand, Peru, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Iceland, Australia, South Korea, and Pakistan will also be subject to even lower levies under re-negotiated bilateral trade agreements, according to the statement.

The move does not appear to be linked with the bruising US-China trade war, which has seen Washington and Beijing exchanging blows for more than a year.

Earlier this month, the two sides announced a mini-agreement to reduce some levies in a bruising trade war, which has dragged on global growth.

Last week, China said that a list of US chemicals that will be exempted from import tariffs, including certain types of industrial glue and adhesives, industrial polymers and types of paraffin, which can be found in cosmetics and food. – AFP