China has declared it will cut costs for foreign companies that want to trade with it, in the wake of the country’s escalating trade spat with the US.

The announcement was made at a State Council meeting last week (18 September) in which it was decided general customs clearance time for imports and exports and related supervision documents would be reduced by another one-third this year, and clearance fees would be lowered.

“Efforts should be made to optimise the business environment, and truly reduce costs for foreign trade companies. In this way, […] a steady growth of imports and exports can be maintained,” Premier Li said.

Measures to promote foreign trade growth and customs clearance convenience were discussed with the Premier calling for a higher level of trading convenience and for further cost cuts in import and export enterprises.

Decisions were made to streamline approval for imports and exports, and supervision documents to be checked at ports will all be interconnected online before 1 November. In addition, bulk resource goods will be cleared first at ports with follow-up inspections. 

In cost terms, charges will be cleared and regulated, and a list of governmental fee items will be published by the end of 2018. The export tax rebate policy will be improved and the processing of expert rebates will be sped up. The coverage of export credit insurance will also be expanded and the government will encourage financial institutions to increase credit lending to foreign trade enterprises, especially small and medium-sized enterprises.

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China today announced it would be lowering import tariffs on textiles to 8.4% from 11.5% previously, a move aimed at lowering costs for consumers and companies as the trade war with the US intensifies.

The country has recently been engaged in a trade war with the US which most recently approved a 10% tariff on an additional US$200bn worth of Chinese goods. China retaliated with 5-10% tarrif imposition on $60bn of US goods