China said Friday it would reduce import tariffs on items ranging from frozen crabs to mineral water starting December 1.
A statement on the website of the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said the average import tax on items including food, infant formula, medicine, clothing and footwear will be cut from 17.3 to 7.7 percent.
Some items will enjoy larger tariff cuts. For example, tax on bottled Vermouth wine no larger than two liters will be reduced to 14 percent starting December from 65 percent. The tax on avocados will also drop to 7 percent from 25 percent.
Taxes on items like frozen crabs, seal oil capsules and mineral water will also be cut in half, the statement said.
The ministry said no taxes will be imposed on some types of baby milk powder and diapers.
Wang Danqing, a partner at the Beijing-based ACME consultancy, told the Global Times on Friday that consumption plays an increasingly important role in China's economic growth, and the tax cuts are aimed at stimulating domestic consumption.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics released on November 14 showed that retail sales surged by 10 percent year-on-year in October.
"Another reason for the tax cuts is that people have a lot of shopping options, and many domestic consumers go abroad to shop to avoid the tariffs. I think the Chinese government also implemented the policy hoping to attract domestic consumption," Wang noted.
Wang said the reduced import tariffs, which will make imported items more attractive to buyers, will also pressure domestic manufacturers to improve the quality of their products.
He also stressed that the reduced tariffs will not only be good news for Chinese consumers, but will also be an incentive for many intermediate traders, such as retailers, who sell imported items like Hema Shengxian, Alibaba's seafood supermarket and amazon.cn.
A Shanghai-based resident surnamed Qiu, who requested that her full name not be disclosed and who often buys imported baby formula on domestic websites, said that she welcomes the tariff cuts.
"I sometimes ask purchasing agents to buy baby products for me to avoid the tariffs, but it's very inconvenient. I guess now I can patronize domestic shopping channels as I won't be spending on tariffs," Qiu said.