Lower tariffs expected to boost domestic consumer market: Industry insiders

Tariff cuts on a wide range of consumer goods will expand imports and further open up domestic consumer markets, financial news outlet Yicai reported on Nov 28.

From next month, tariffs on 187 product categories such as baby formula, diapers, and Japanese toilet seats will be reduced from 17.3 percent to 7.7 percent on average, according to the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council.

The reduction will meet increasing domestic demand, as it allows Chinese consumers to buy cheaper and high-quality products that cannot be currently produced at home.

Lower tariffs will also boost domestic consumption as it encourages people to buy imported products at home instead of overseas, analysts say.

Tariffs have been cut four times on imported consumer goods since 2015.

It is hoped that lower tariffs will encourage more foreign brands to invest and open branches in China, said Wang Wei, a researcher with the Institute for Market Economy, Development Research Center of the State Council.

The tariff reduction also reflects that Chinese companies are narrowing the gap with their foreign counterparts in terms of middle-and high-end consumer goods manufacturing.

“There is no need to protect the Chinese producers, who have already addressed their weakness through the supply-side structural reform,” said Zhang Jun, an economist with Morgan Stanley Huaxin Securities.

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