China is set to reduce import tariffs over a range of products as well as reducing import application procedural red tape in a bid to maintain balanced trade.

China Daily [1] reports that the vice minister of commerce, Zhong Shan, told them at the East China Fair that "We will launch a series of measures to stimulate imports this year, including adjusting tariffs on some categories of goods and further simplifying the administrative process," but did not elaborate further. He did though say that China was not looking for a large trade surplus but 'to maintain balanced trade'.

This follows on from the minister of commerce, Chen Deming, saying in December that boosting imports would be an important task. They are looking to increase the imports of new energy, energy efficient, low carbon technology and high end manufacturing mechanical and electrical goods as well as aerospace, shipping and rail products.

There is also a planned forum for March on the topic of increasing imports.

Should China go down this route Zhang Xiaoji, a top trade researcher at the Development Research Center state think tank, said "China's imports will increase rapidly".

But the rising costs of commodities may mean that the actual quantity of China's imports does not rise significantly. The commerce ministry director of the department of foreign trade, Wang Shouwen said it was 'too early' to say if the falling trade surplus trend would continue as January's import figures were affected by "rapidly rising commodity prices". The strengthening of the Yuan is also having an effect.


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