China announced tariff cuts on Friday in consumer goods, including avocados, mineral water and baby carts, in a new effort to stimulate economic growth driven by domestic consumption and reduce dependence on trade and investment.
Beijing faces pressure from the United States Europe and other trading partners for better access to its growing market. But the range of 187 products affected by the latest cuts was relatively small and it was not clear how China's trade balance could be affected.
Chinese leaders are in the midst of a marathon effort to fuel self-sustained economic growth based on consumer spending rather than trade and investment. Foreign products are often considered higher quality, safer or cheaper, which has driven a boom in Chinese tourists spending on basic products such as shoes, cosmetics and baby formulas.
The latest changes are intended to "enrich domestic consumption choices," said a statement from the Ministry of Finance. It will come into force on December 1 and will reduce import tariffs on some products by up to two thirds.
Beijing announced a similar tariff cut in 2015 for imported clothing, footwear and other items.
Encouraging consumers to buy foreign products from Chinese retailers instead of traveling abroad can also help generate jobs, said economist Lu Zhengwei of the Industrial Bank in Shanghai.
"We know that consumer products are not high-value products and we can not depend on them to achieve a fundamental change for China's trade imbalance," Lu said. "But step by step, it can work if we keep doing things that are mutually beneficial for both parties and good for the markets."
China reported a global trade surplus of $ 510 billion last year, although total trade shrank in a Weak signal of domestic and foreign demand.
President Donald Trump has reduced the trade deficit of the United States with China as a priority. The US Chamber of Commerce in China has expressed concern that Trump's approach to trade in goods may divert attention from issues such as increased access by foreigners to financing, medical care and other industries in the economy dominated by the State of China.
Beijing promised on November 10 to gradually reduce tariffs on car imports, although he did not elaborate. It was not clear how that would affect imports because most of the vehicles sold in China by global car manufacturers are manufactured in China.
The announcement came after Trump's visit to Beijing, during which the two sides signed a multimillion-dollar series of contracts in China. a tradition designed to mitigate criticism of trade surpluses and market barriers in Beijing.
Also on November 10, the government announced that it would raise its limit on foreign ownership of securities, fund management and futures companies from a 49 percent minority stake to a 51 percent majority stake and final restrictions after three years. He said that a similar change would be made for life insurance companies and that those restrictions would end in five years.