Effective July 1, 2018, the Government of China will reduce average tariff rate for clothing, shoes and hats, kitchenware, and sports and fitness supplies from 15.9 per cent to 7.1 per cent. Indicating further cut in future, Premier Li Keqiang said at an executive meeting of the State Council, “China’s door will only open wider and wider.”

The progress that China has made over the past 40 years shows that continuous opening-up has boosted reform and development, which must be unswervingly implemented, said Keqiang, according to the report of the State Council. “The tariff cuts contribute not only to expanding opening-up but also meeting the growing demands of the people and promoting quality production and industrial upgrading,” he added.

Besides clothing, import tariffs would also be cut on several daily necessity items like home appliances (washing machines and refrigerators); cultured and fished aquatic products and processed food; detergents, cosmetics such as skin care and hair care products; a statement released after the meeting said.

Keqiang had given indication for tariff cuts on some daily consumer goods while delivering the Government Work Report this March. He has spoken about balanced development of trade by opening the domestic market wider and offering more choices for Chinese consumers. Lowing tariffs on daily consumer goods is a choice China made on its own, said Keqiang at the State Council executive meeting. Amid complicated international situations and the rise of protectionism, China actively expands its imports, he said. “It demonstrates the country’s determination and confidence in further opening-up. It is beneficial to both China and the world at large.”

According to the Premier, China still has a long way to go to realise modernisation. He called on related departments to implement concrete measures to cut tariffs and prevent price increases and profit gains in intermediate links and to enable consumers to get real benefits.