China Plans Tariff Cuts for Commodity, Consumer Goods to Encourage Imports

China plans to lower tariffs on some products to encourage imports as the nation seeks to alleviate pressures on domestic resources and reduce trade conflicts, the State Council said in a statement today.

China’s cabinet called on local governments and departments to stabilize and promote commodities imports, widen the buying of advanced technology equipment and energy products, and“appropriately enlarge” the import of consumer goods, according to the statement posted on website.

The world’s second-largest economy reported an unexpectedtrade surplus in March as import growth trailed forecasts. Gross domestic product in the first quarter expanded 8.1 percent from a year earlier, the least in almost three years. Premier Wen Jiabao, who pared this year’s growth target to 7.5 percent, has said economic policies will be fine-tuned as needed.

“Local administrations and government departments must adjust their focus on encouraging exports and limiting imports and place equal emphasis on both,” according to the statement.

China will reduce import duties on some energy products, consumer goods and key components in strategic emerging industries that cannot be produced locally, the State Council said. The statement didn’t give details on how much tariffs will be cut.

To encourage imports, the government will also provide financing services and encourage commercial banks to offer credit facilities, according to the statement.