China has implemented tariff cuts on 706 types of goods – including many seafood items – for countries with which it has reached bilateral trade deals.
The move will make seafood from New Zealand, Peru, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Iceland, South Korea, Australia, Georgia and all countries participating in the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement cheaper for Chinese consumers.
The cuts came into effect 1 January after being announced in late December 2018. China’s Ministry of Finance said the move was part of the government’s efforts to open up the economy and lower costs of everyday items used by domestic consumers.
The move was made “In order to support the construction of the ‘Belt and Road’ and free trade zones, accelerate the economic and trade cooperation between China and relevant countries, and create external conditions conducive to the long-term healthy and stable development of the economy,” according to a ministry statement.
The tariff cuts affect a wide range of seafood – more than 300 item types – including abalone, rock lobster, bluefin tuna, salmon, trout, swordfish, crab, oysters, scallops, mussels, and prawns.
In addition, China has sought to compensate tariffs on U.S. soybeans creating shortages of a primary ingredient in animal feeds, including fishmeal, by eliminating tariffs on imports on several other meals, including sunflower and canola.
The reductions come in advance of talks scheduled for next week between the U.S. and China, in which the trade standoff between the two countries will be directly addressed. China’s moves on trade are meant both to increase its population’s access to goods that have been restricted from entering the country as a result of the tariffs imposed on the United States during the Sino-U.S. trade war, and show that the country is continuing to open its economy, according to Bloomberg.
“The adjustments are conducive to giving full play to the important functions of tariffs to make full use of domestic and international markets and resources,” China’s Ministry of Finance said.“It is conducive to the overall coordination of the balanced development of relevant domestic industries, and is conducive to promoting open cooperation, sharing development results, and promoting the steady growth of China’s foreign trade.”