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Quick Take: China to Urge Businesses to Consider Alternatives to Buying From U.S.

China will encourage firms to adjust their respective import structures to increase purchases from countries other than the U.S., the government said Monday.

The announcement follows authorities’ raising tariffs on shipments from the U.S. in response to the Trump administration’s imposing punitive duties on goods from China.

“China fully considered the nature of import substitutes as well as the overall impact on trade and investment when researching the list of products for retaliatory tariffs,” an unnamed spokesperson from the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement, addressing a question about how the government planned to ease the impact on firms that will result from the Sino-U.S. trade dispute.

Policymakers “will research implementing" measures that include encouraging Chinese importers to increase purchases of agricultural products such as soybeans and soybean meal, automobiles, and aquatic products from other countries to avoid rising costs due to the higher tariffs on U.S. goods, the spokesperson said.

The increase in tax revenue from the countermeasures will be mainly used to mitigate the impact on domestic businesses and employees affected by the trade dispute, the spokesperson said.

In an apparent gesture to downplay concerns on possible actions against U.S. companies in China, the spokesperson said the government will accelerate the implementation of a policy released by the State Council, the country’s cabinet, on June 15 to effectively utilize foreign capital and “strengthen protection of enterprises’ legal rights.”

Contact reporter Liu Xiao (liuxiao@caixin.com)

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