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China sets out another round of tariff cuts

China decided to lower or scrap import tariffs for more than 700 products, starting Jan. 1, 2019, while removing export tariffs on 94 items, in a bid to further its initiative to open up the economy.

Those imported products will be subject to provisional duties, with the rates for raw materials for some medicines removed, the Ministry of Finance said Dec. 24. Zero tariff rates will be implemented on imports of a variety of meals.

China will continue to levy lower import tax rates on natural resources like forages and uranium and on advanced equipment like aviation engines and welding robots for automobile production lines.

The country would also cut the Most-Favored Nations tariff rate on 298 information technology products, starting July 1, 2019.

Meanwhile, the products for which export tariffs are being scrapped include apatite, coal tar, iron ore, and wood pulp.

This follows the conclusion of the Central Economic Work Conference on Dec. 21, when China pledged to cut taxes and fees and implement a "prudent" monetary policy in 2019 amid signs of a growth slowdown, Reuters reported. The planned measures come as China reported weaker-than-expected annual GDP growth of 6.5% in the third quarter, down from the 6.7% expansion seen in the prior three-month period.