SHANGHAI -- China will cut import tariffs for cars and
components, the country's finance ministry said, opening up greater
access to the world's largest auto market amid an easing of trade
tensions with the U.S.
Import tariffs will be cut to 15 percent
for most vehicles from 25 percent from July 1, the Ministry of Finance
said in a statement, adding this was part of efforts to open up China's
markets and spur development of the local auto industry. A small number of
imported trucks are taxed at 20 percent currently.
The move will
be a major boost to overseas carmakers, especially helping premium
brands such as BMW, Tesla, Audi and Mercedes-Benz close a price gap on
BMW said it would look at its prices and said the
move was a "strong signal that China will continue to open up," while
Audi said it welcomed the "further liberalization and opening" of the
A Nissan executive said: "Benefits are huge for
our business, especially Infiniti," referring to the Japanese
automaker's premium car brand.
An executive at Nissan's Chinese
joint venture said it was "great news" but that the biggest
beneficiaries would likely be German luxury carmakers including
Volkswagen Group's Porsche and Audi brands. "That's just because of the
volume of imported cars they sell," the person said, asking not to be
Toyota said it would adjust retail prices for imported cars
that benefited from the lower tariffs to provide Chinese consumers with
Lower parts tariffs
Import tariffs for auto parts would be cut to 6 percent from mostly around 10 percent, the ministry said.
high tariff on vehicles - versus a 2.5 percent U.S. levy - has been a
key focus of U.S. President Donald Trump's administration amid a
simmering trade standoff between Washington and Beijing.
said previously the 25 percent tariff amounted to "stupid trade," while
auto industry leaders such as Tesla's Elon Musk have said that Chinese
restrictions on foreign automakers created a skewed playing field.
and the U.S., however, made a breakthrough in trade talks after
negotiations in Washington last week, stepping back from the brink of a
global trade war and agreeing to hold further talks to boost U.S.
exports to China.
China pledged last month to open up its auto
market, announcing a timeline to remove long-standing caps on foreign
ownership of automotive ventures.