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China cuts controversial tax on personal items bought overseas in move to boost consumption

China cuts controversial tax on personal items bought overseas in move to boost consumption

Shanghai : The tax rate on products including computers, foodstuffs, gold and silverware, furniture and medicines will be lowered to 13 per cent from 15 per cent

Analysts doubt whether the minor tax break will have a material impact on China’s sluggish consumer confidence

China has cut a controversial tax on personal items bought overseas, ranging from iPads to books, in an effort to boost consumer confidence.

The government will trim the “tax on baggage and articles accompanying incoming passengers and personal postal articles”, a three-in-one tax consisting of value-added tax, consumption tax and import duties on Tuesday, according to an online notice posted by the Ministry of Finance on Monday.

The tax rate on products including computers, foodstuffs, gold and silverware, furniture and medicines will be lowered to 13 per cent from 15 per cent. The rate for commodities including textiles, electric appliances and bicycles will be cut to 20 per cent from 25 per cent, according to the statement.

The tax rate for wine, cigarettes, jewellery, golf equipment, luxury watches and high-grade cosmetics will be kept at 50 per cent.

This is the second round of tax cuts on consumer products bought overseas in six months, after Beijing initially lowered the rate on November 1, 2018. The last round saw the tax on wine and cigarettes cut from 60 per cent to 50 per cent, while the tax rate on textiles and home appliances went from 30 per cent to 25 per cent.

The decision was announced by Premier Li Keqiang at a routine State Council meeting last week, according to a statement on the government’s website, which also said the cut was designed to boost imports and consumer confidence.