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China Speeds Up Tariff Reform

China has done substantial work in tariff reform and will further cut import duties according to the commitments made during its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, official said.

Liu Wenjie, deputy director of the Chinese General Administration of Customs, said at a press conference held in Beijing Tuesday that China sorted out and revised more than 3,000 customs documents which went against WTO rules and international practices since 2000.

Apart from the amended and practiced customs law, a newly-amended national regulation on import and export duties has been promulgated and will take effect as of Jan. 1, 2004, Liu said.

A new regulation on intellectual property protection will be published shortly and a customs announcement on the predefinition of place of origin is under deliberation, according to Liu.

Meanwhile, China reduced tariff rates yearly. In 2003, the average tariff rate was cut from 12 percent to 11 percent. In 2002, the figure was reduced from 15.3 percent to 12 percent, Liu said.

Liu went on to say that the decrease of tariffs spurred Chinese imports and helped increase tariff income.

In the January-November period, Liu noted, Chinese imports rose by 39.1 percent to hit US$370.6 billion.

Customs income surged by 103.8 billion yuan (US$12.55 billion) to 338 billion yuan (US$40.83 billion) in the same period, Liu said.

The soaring trade benefited China and its partners including Japan, the United States and the EU, which recorded US$100 billion trade volume with China in the first 10 months of 2003, Liu said.

Liu acknowledged that the reduction of tariff rates served to promote the integration of the domestic and international market and China will further this downward progress according to WTO arrangements.

The improved customs management also helped to create a fair, transparent and predictable environment for the companies, Liu said.

(Xinhua News Agency December 10, 2003)

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