China will impose an export tariff on highly energy-consuming products as part of an effort to deflate the ballooning trade surplus and improve the safety of the nation's export products, Wei Jianguo, vice commerce minister, said yesterday.
He said that China will restrict exporting contaminated and energy-intensive products and encourage exports of high-tech equipment and consumer goods.
Although China launched some favorable policies to boost exports, the nation will use more preferential policies to expand imports, Wei said.
The vice minister also said that decelerating the growth of the trade surplus is the Chinese government's major mission and long-term task.
The government decided to eliminate or cut tax rebates for more than 2,800 export items from July 1, in the boldest move yet to rein in exports since it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, according to an announcement released by the Ministry of Finance in late July.
Export tax rebates for 553 "highly energy-consuming and resource-intensive" products, such as cement, fertilizer and non-ferrous metals, will be eliminated, the ministry said.
Yao Jingyuan, chief economist for the National Bureau of Statistics, said on July 2 that China's trade surplus for the first half of this year is expected to top US$100 billion.
Total trade for the first half is expected to top US$1 trillion, up 24 percent year on year, Yao said.
China's trade surplus in May soared to US$22.45 billion, up 73 percent from the same period last year, according to statistics from the General Administration of Customs.
(China Daily July 4, 2007)