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Tariff rate cuts to continue, official says
( 2003-12-09 23:39) (China Daily)

China will continue to cut its tariff rates according to its commitments to the World Trade Organization, a senior customs official said Tuesday.

The average tariff rate was cut from 12 to 11 per cent in 2003. The number was earlier reduced from 15.3 per cent to 12 per cent.

"Although the specific figure for tariff cut has not been set for next year, we can assure the rates will be on a downward track,'' according to Liu Wenjie, deputy director of the General Administration of Customs.

The detailed figure will soon be published by a special committee for tariffs, he added.

The lower tariffs helped boost Chinese imports and tariff revenues, Liu said.

Customs revenue reached 338 billion yuan (US$40.8 billion) in the January-November period, 103.8 billion yuan (US$12.55 billion) more than that collected in the same period last year, Liu said.

Liu made the remarks at a press conference in Beijing about the newly released Regulation on Import and Export Duties.

The regulation, set to take effect on January 1, 2004, improved the legal system on revenue collection in accordance with China's WTO commitments.

The new regulation, which will replace the current one implemented in 1985, added clear and specific provisions about the defining of customs value and relevant tariff rates, which conform to WTO rules, Liu said.

In fact, more than 3,000 customs documents which went against WTO rules and international practices have been revised or are being revised since 2000.

A new regulation governing customs' protection of intellectual property rights has been approved by the State Council and will be published soon. Another regulation on the definition of the place of origin is being drawn upon, according to Liu.

Liu said the customs will continue to improve trade facilitation and enhance clearance efficiency, in a big to create a fair, transparent and stable environment for the companies.

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