By Agence France-Presse
BEIJING – Beijing will lower import tariffs on more than 850 products, including frozen pork from next month, the finance ministry said Monday, as authorities battle a severe shortage of the meat staple.
China’s pig industry has been hammered by African swine fever, which has led to the culling of more than a million animals, according to official statistics, and caused the price of pork to double.
Monday’s announcement said tariffs on frozen pork will drop from 12 percent to eight percent from January 1.
Tariff Commission of the State Council said in a statement that the changes will optimize “the trade structure and promote the high-quality development of the economy”.
Levies will also be lowered on other foods such as fish, cheese and nuts, pharmaceuticals and a range of chemical products.
With China’s pig herd down by about 40 percent, authorities have launched a plan to restore pork production to pre-swine fever levels by 2021.
The country is also expected to have imported more than twice as much pork in 2019 as last year, China’s commerce ministry has previously said.
China said from July 1 next year, it will also further reduce tariffs on some technology products, the finance ministry said in a statement on its website.
The products set to have lower tariffs in July include printers, audio recorder parts and pacemakers.
Tariffs on certain types of satellite TV receivers will fall from 10 percent to five percent, according to the ministry’s statement.
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 trade agreements, according to the statement.
US President Donald Trump retweeted reports from Bloomberg and Reuters on the tariff reduction Monday, without any additional comment.
However, the move does not appear to be linked to the bruising trade war between China and the US, which has seen Washington and Beijing exchanging blows for more than a year, dragging on global growth.
But the two sides this month announced a mini-agreement to reduce some levies and work towards a wider pact.
Last week, China issued 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.