From July 1, import duties in China will fall from an average of 15.7 % to 6.9 % in 1,449 consumer goods categories. For example, the average import duties on clothing, footwear, kitchenware, and ready-to-eat food items will be reduced by about half to 7 %, while the import duties on some fresh foods and foodstuffs fall by twenty percentage points to around 5 %. Import duties on washing machines and refrigerators will fall from over 20 % to 8 %. Import duties on cosmetics and health products will fall from over 8 % to 3 %, while import duties of medicines will be eliminated completely. The measures are a follow-on from the latest round of import duty reductions for consumer goods implemented in December 2017 (see Weekly 48/2017).
The reductions in import duties brings China's customs level closer to that of developed economies, even if the differences are still considerable. The WTO reports that in 2016 the average import duties in China were 9.9 %, compared e.g. to 5.2 % for the EU and 3.5 % for the US. In 2016, Chinese products encountered US import duties averaging 4 %. EU import duties on Chinese goods average 11.9 % for agricultural products and 4.5 % for other products. On the flip side, China extracted duties on goods from the EU and the US to the tune of about 15 % for agricultural products and 9 % for the rest.