China moves to help trade


China said it will suspend administrative customs fees for the rest of this year, in a move to help exporters and importers weather the global economic slowdown.

From October 1st till the end of 2012, all goods coming in and out of China, as well as vehicles carrying them, will be free of inspection and quarantine fees, the Ministry of Finance and the National Development and Reform Commission said in a joint statement released today.

Meanwhile, China will also abolish customs supervision charges from October 1st onwards, according to the statement, date-stamped September 18th.

The move could save Chinese firms about 3.5 billion yuan ($555 million), domestic media reported, citing estimates from the Ministry of Finance.

Rates for customs supervision charges vary from 0.1 per cent to 0.3 per cent of the value of the goods.

Quarantine fees range from 0.05 per cent to 0.5 per cent of the value of goods and some are charged based on volume rather than value. The total value of goods inspected and quarantined in China in the first half of 2012 was $793.4 billion.

Beijing has already rolled out a slew of measures to help its exporters and importers facing the stronger-than-expected external headwinds, including cutting red tape, easier access to loans and faster refunds on tax rebates.

Chinese imports fell 2.6 per cent in August from a year earlier and exports rose only 2.7 per cent, both missing investor expectations. China's Customs Administration is scheduled to announce September data on October 13th.

China's economic growth has been on a downward spiral for six consecutive quarters and economists in a Reuters poll reckon it will extend to a seventh in the July-September period before recovering in the last three months of 2012.

To boost growth, China has cut interest rates twice this year, on top of three cuts in banks' required reserve ratio since November which freed up an estimated 1.2 trillion yuan for additional lending. The central bank also pumped cash into the economy via open market operations.

Beijing has also announced infrastructure investments and launched subsidies to encourage consumer spending on energy-saving products.

A dozen local governments have announced ambitious pump-priming plans of up to 10 trillion yuan in the past few months.


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