China has announced it is to cut import tariffs on nearly 1,500 consumer products from 1 July.

As the US announced the introduction of tariffs on steel and aluminium imported from the EU, Canada and Mexico – sparking retaliatory measures – China has moved in the opposite direction in a bid to boost imports and open up its economy.

The Chinese finance ministry has published a list of products affected and their new reduced tax rates. They include processed foods, such as seafood products, with tariffs cut from 15.2% to 6.9%.

In November, China cut import taxes on almost 200 consumer products, including food and health supplements, to 7.7% on average from 17.3%.

The newly announced tax cuts are most-favoured-nation (MFN) tariffs. An MFN tariff is one World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries promise to impose on all of their trading partners who are also WTO members, unless the country is part of a preferential trade agreement.

There have been tensions between the US and China over trade in recent months. However, last month US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a ”trade war” with China had been put on hold after the economic powerhouses reached a tentative agreement on cutting deficits between the two countries.

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