China's effective tariff rate has reached the level of the developed countries at 2.41 percent, fairly close to the 1.19 percent of the United States in 2017, said experts.
According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), China's trade-weighted average tariff rate is 4.4 percent. This is usually higher than the effective tariff rate.
"For instance, the Chinese government recently announced that China will import some high quality goods to improve the living standards of the people. For those goods, we apply a temporary tariff rate which is usually quite low, and such rate is not included in the calculation of the trade-weighted average tariff rate. Therefore, the trade-weighted average tariff rate will be much higher than the effective rate. In fact, China's effective tariff rate has reached the level of developed countries," said Gao Lingyun, researcher with the Institute of World Economics and Politics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Another expert stressed that both the trade-weighted average tariff rate and effective should be taken into consideration when the tariff levels of different counties are compared.
"The trade-weighted average tariff rate of China is only 4.4 percent. This rate can better reflect the real tariff level of China, for some goods may have a high tariff rate, but they are actually tariff free. So, this rate is more accurate. The average tariff rate of the US is 2.4 percent and the European Union is three percent. Therefore, the gap between them and China is actually quite narrow," said Tu Xinquan, director of China Institute for WTO Studies under University of International Business and Economics.
Tu added that China's tariff level is also fairly low compared with other developing countries.
"India's Trade-weighted average tariff rate is 48 percent, Argentina is 31 percent and so is Brazil. In addition, both Argentina and Brazil have higher per capita income than China and they joined the WTO much earlier. Some developed countries like South Korea, with a per capita income exceeding 30,000 US dollars, has a tariff rate of 13 percent, also much higher than that of China," said Tu.
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