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China to reduce tariffs on 8,549 types of goods from India, 4 other Asian countries

China will reduce or cut to zero tariffs on a total of 8,549 types of goods originating in India and four other Asian countries from July 1, according to the Ministry of Finance.

The adjustment, covering products made in India, Bangladesh, Laos, South Korea and Sri Lanka, was part of the tariff concession arrangement reached under the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), it said.

The goods include chemicals, agricultural and medical products, clothing, steel and aluminum products. The items on the list from the five Asian countries will have a new tariff rate effective on Sunday.

"The change was decided upon as unilateralism and trade protectionism are on the rise and tensions appear in the trade relations among global economies," the state-run China Daily said, referring to the looming US-China trade war.

After the adjustment, tariffs on 2,323 categories of commodities such as certain chemicals, optical components and television cameras will be reduced, state-run Xinhua news agency reported, citing the ministry.

The move came after a new arrangement was reached during the fourth round of tariff concession negotiations among the six APTA members in January 2017.

The trade agreement, formerly known as the Bangkok Agreement, signed in 1975 and renamed in 2005, has been the oldest preferential trade agreement among economies in the Asia-Pacific region. Formed by six member countries, the trade agreement covers a population of three billion.

Trade experts and negotiators have termed the move a strategic one since most items are those on which Beijing has slapped higher tariffs when they are imported from the US. 

On June 17, China had said it would impose additional tariff of 25 per cent on soyabeans, chemical products, and medical equipment from the US. 

Ajay Sahai, director general at Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), said the tariff cut will translate into actual benefits only Indian exporters are able to get market access in China. “Regulatory clearances need to be simplified as well, especially in pharmaceuticals and agricultural goods,” he said. Referring to Beijing blocking rice and meat imports from India, a negotiator said, “Tariffs are immaterial in China. It is the political will to import.” 

As per media reports, China will reduce tariffs on soybean imported from India, South Korea, Bangladesh, Laos, and Sri Lanka from the current 3 per cent to zero. 



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