China to Cut Import Duties on Fuels, Consumer Products

China will cut import duties on energy sources and consumer goods as the government seeks to ease resource bottlenecks and stimulate consumption, the State Council said.

Tariffs will also be cut on components needed by industries that are of strategic importance, the Cabinet meeting led by Premier Wen Jiabao on March 28 decided, according to a statement posted on the government’s website today that didn’t give details.

China faces bottlenecks in resources and energy supply after surging economic growth over the past decade turned the nation into the world’s largest energy consumer and the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. The government also pledged to narrow the gap between imports and exports.

“With constraints on resources and the environment intensifying, and as people’s living conditions improve, China needs to put more emphasis on increasing imports as it maintains stable export growth,” the State Council said in the statement.

Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei said earlier this week in Seoul that China will seek to buy oil from more countries to meet demand caused by the nation’s growth, according to a China News Service report.

Import Credit

China will encourage banks to offer import credit services and insurers to roll out more products to help companies buy products oversees, and will broaden financing channels for importers, the Cabinet said. It also pledged to improve cross- border yuan trade settlement.

China had its largest trade deficit since at least 1989 in February as Europe’s sovereign-debt turmoil damped exports and imports rebounded after a week-long holiday. Government officials forecast the country will still see a surplus for the full year.

This year’s surplus may be about $150 billion, Bi Jiyao and Zhang Yi, researchers with the National Development and Reform Commission, wrote in an article this month. That compares with last year’s surplus of $155.14 billion.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Victoria Ruan in Beijing at vruan1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Panckhurst at ppanckhurst@bloomberg.net

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