China: foreign trade reform by World Bank

By World Bank

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Such a tariff cut would bring China's tariff structure into line with that for Korea, for example, with average rates on consumer goods declining to about 32 percent, those on intermediate and capital goods to around 14 percent, agricultural goods to 17 percent and mining to 10 percent. Given that trade diplomacy is likely to remain an important part of China's future trade strategy, the actual phasing of these tariff reductions could be linked to progress in negotiations with trading partners, most notably within the context of the GATT.

While it is true that trade reform needs other reforms to make it fully effective, it is also true that progress in trade is likely to generate important momentum for reforms in other areas. Moreover, a number of factors relating to both the domestic situation and the international trading environment suggest that the time is indeed ripe for China to embark on a bold program of trade liberalization. Page xxiii Trade reform in China cannot proceed without the further dismantling of the country's trade and investment planning apparatus.

China has begun to move in the right direction. Recent import liberalization initiatives undertaken as part of China's bid to attain full membership status in the GATT and as part of its bilateral trade negotiations with the United States include publication of regulations, some reduction of tariffs (tariffs on 3,371 tariff lines were reduced an average of 7 percent in December 1992), abolition of import substitution lists, and limited removal of import licenses and controls, with a commitment to eliminate two-thirds of these over time.

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