China makes new moves to boost exports
By Nie Peng (
Updated: 2008-11-13 16:54

China announced on Wednesday it will raise export tariff rebates on more than 3,700 items and make adjustments to export tariffs levied on other items starting December 1.

The scaling back of export tariff rebates on 3,770 items - mainly labor-intensive, mechanical and electrical products and other items vulnerable to weakening overseas demand - is the third such move in the second half to encourage exports.

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In October, the Ministry of Finance announced the hike of export tariff rebates on some toys, textile and mechanical products. Exporters of those products have been given rebates ranging from 5 percent to 17 percent since November 1

Meanwhile, China will scrap export tariffs on some steel, chemical and grain products, lower export duties on some fertilizer products and begin to impose or increase export tariffs on some other items from next month.

The State Council, or China's cabinet, also approved on Wednesday's executive meeting a combined investment of more than 200 billion yuan ($29.28 billion) in infrastructure projects to help boost domestic demand and offset slowing exports.

Customs figures released on Tuesday showed China's exports continued to grow at a slower pace. Exports grew 19.2 percent year-on-year, lower than September's 21.5 percent, totaling $128.3 billion in October.

Experts believe the new move to further scale back export tariff rebates will help boost weakening exports that have led to the shutdown of thousands of labor-intensive small- and medium-sized enterprises in southern China's Guangdong alone.

Zhou Shijian, a senior researcher at Tsinghua University, said the rise in rebates will play an important role in boosting export growth.

He said during an interview with China Business News that the country should fully resume export tariff rebates on products, excluding resource products and those involving high pollution and high energy consumption.

Zhou said Chinese enterprises were able to overcome weak overseas demand because "China's exported products are mostly daily necessities with low elasticity of demand" and demand from emerging markets remain strong.

Although China's trade surplus reached a record high of $35.2 billion in October, it was mainly due to a sharp drop in import growth, experts say.

The latest figures showed imports reached $93.1 billion in October, up 15.6 percent year-on-year, but the growth rate was significantly down from September's 21.3 percent.

Zhang Yongjun, a senior economist at the State Information Center, told the newspaper the drastic drop in import growth was partially due to the downturn of China's economy and sluggish domestic demand. He estimated the down trend in import growth would continue for some time to come.

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