China to reduce auto import tariffs; open up economy further

10 April 2018 05:24 Source:ICIS News

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China plans to reduce import tariffs on automobiles and other products this year, in line with the country’s aim to further open up its economy, the country’s President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday.

“This year, we will considerably reduce auto import tariffs, and at the same time reduce import tariffs on some other products,” Xi said in a keynote speech at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2018 being held in Hainan province, in south China.

The automotive industry is a major global consumer of petrochemicals, which account for more than a third of the raw material costs of an average vehicle.

China is now the world’s largest automotive market, having overtaken the US in recent years.

No direct reference was made on the threat of a trade war between the US and China during Xi's speech, but he said that “a Cold War mentality, zero-sum thinking and isolationalism” are out of place.

"Putting oneself on a pedestal or trying to immune oneself from adverse developments will get nowhere," Xi said.

Concerns over a brewing trade war between the world’s two biggest economies have been weighing down on general market sentiment, following weeks of heightened tensions amid threats of massive tariff impositions coming from both sides.

US President Donald Trump has been embracing a protectionist policy on trade, in line with his “America First” campaign.

“We will take the initiative to expand imports," Chinese President Xi said, noting that the country’s imports will take into account competitiveness and the needs of the Chinese people.

China, which is the world’s second- biggest economy, is a major importer of petrochemicals in Asia.

"China does not seek trade surplus; we have a genuine desire to increase imports and achieve greater balance of international payments under the current account," he said.

Current account is a measure of an economy’s transactions with the rest of the world involving foreign exchange.

The country, which is the world’s second biggest economy, hopes developed countries will stop imposing restrictions on trade of high-technology products, he said.

"China's door of opening up will not be closed, and will only be opened up even wider,” Xi said.

With the theme “An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity”, the Boao forum runs from 8-11 April.

Picture: Imported vehicles in Tsingtao Port, China. (Source: Sipa Asia/REX/Shutterstock)

By Pearl Bantillo