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China cuts duties on personal imports of consumer electronics
April, 16th 2012

China has lowered duties on personal imports of digital cameras, computers and mobile phones by more than 50 per cent, new tax rules published by China's customs administration showed.

The overall import tax rate for consumer electronics was halved to 10 per cent, effective from April 15. The taxable base for most electronic products was also reduced, with the tax base for some mobile phones cut to 1,000 yuan ($160) from 2,000 yuan.

The new tax rules, which apply only to products imported as personal luggage and by post rather than commercial bulk shipments, also increased duties on some cosmetic products such as perfumes, for which the tax base was doubled to 300 yuan.

The customs administration did not give a reason for the adjustments.

Growing affluence among Chinese consumers has led to a surge in overseas shopping trips for luxury goods to circumvent steep domestic taxes that make such products less affordable at home.

Many small merchants in China also offer a popular grey-market "purchase for you" service, under which they buy consumer products overseas for domestic resale.

The commerce ministry has been lobbying for import tax cuts on consumer goods to boost domestic consumption, but the finance ministry has so far resisted such a move. Import taxes accounted for 14 per cent of first-quarter fiscal revenue.

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