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China cuts import taxes on donkey hide as appetite for skin and meat soars

China cuts import taxes on donkey hide as appetite for skin and meat soars

BEIJING: The State Council, China’s cabinet, said the tax would be cut from 5 per cent to 2 per cent from January 1, state-run news agency Xinhua reported on Sunday.

China’s huge appetite for donkey hide and meat is a multibillion US dollar business and the demand has raised concerns in countries where many of the animals used for transport and farm work have reportedly been slaughtered or stolen and shipped to China. At the same time, the country’s donkey population has fallen dramatically as farmers have replaced the animals with machinery. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China had nearly 10 million donkeys in 1996 – and nearly half that number by 2015. Most of the world’s 44 million or so donkeys are in Asia, North Africa, South America and some European countries.

The eastern Chinese province of Shandong is a major province for ejiao production, importing hides from Peru, Mexico and Egypt.

Meng Xianqing, senior executive at an ejiao manufacturing plant in Donge county, Shandong province, said the lower tariff was good news for the ejiao business.

“To others it is just a few percentage points, but to us it is gold,” the report quoted Meng as saying.