China will slash import tariffs on over 200 seafood products on July 1, as part of a wider tariff reduction on consumer goods.
On May 31, China’s ministry of finance announced import duties for 1,449 products from most-favored nations (member countries of the World Trade Organization) will be reduced.
The list of products — which is more broad-ranging than previous occasions when China has reduced tariffs — sees duties on 221 seafood products, including fish, crustaceans, and molluscs, reduced by 2-10%.
The overall tariff reduction across all products amounts to a drop from 15.7% to 6.9%, the finance ministry said in a statement on its website.
Reacting to the tariff reduction announcement at the Global Aquaculture Summit in Fuzhou, China, Cui He, president of the China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance, said the government is responding to the huge increase in Chinese imports of consumer goods, including seafood.
The reduction is also to reduce incentives for smuggling, he said.
It follows tariff reductions for imports of major seafood products late last year; in December tariffs for frozen Atlantic salmon, shrimp, abalone, rock lobster and capelin were reduced by 2-7%, while tariffs were also reduced in in January, 2017.
In the December reduction tariffs for frozen shrimp (HS code 03061719) were reduced from 5% to 2%.
“I don’t think China is well-prepared for this change [becoming a large importer]. You can see China has tried to adjust policies quickly, such as lowering tariffs,” said Cui.
The reduction comes as China transitions into a major seafood importer; according to Cui, China is now the second-largest consumer of imported seafood, behind the US.
It also comes as China faces pressure from other countries to open up its market.
Undercurrent News notes tariff reductions for some seafood products are largely irrelevant, however. For instance, tariffs will be reduced from 8% to 7% for frozen shelled crawfish — HS code 03061721 — of which China imported none in 2017.
Undercurrent also notes a rather odd tariff change for frozen big-eye tuna (HS code 03034400); tariffs will be reduced from 12% to 7%, according to the document. However, tariffs were reduced from 12% to 6% in January of last year, meaning tariffs will actually increase.
The latest rafter of changes involves the cancellation of 210 “temporary tariffs”, according to the Ministry of Finance. Above-mentioned previous tariff changes — which applied to frozen big-eye tuna — fell under “temporary tariffs” measures, possibly explaining the alteration.
You can read the full list of tariff alterations here.