Wed May 2, 2012 4:45AM
A truck is loaded with a container at Rizhao port, Shandong province, China, September 10, 2010.

A truck is loaded with a container at Rizhao port, Shandong province, China, September 10, 2010.

The Chinese government has announced a series of measures to increase imports, including cuts to import duties on consumer goods, energy and raw materials, as the nation seeks to promote a more balanced and sustainable growth in foreign trade. China's State Council, or Cabinet, in a statement released on Monday, called on local governments and departments to stabilize and promote commodities imports, widen the buying of advanced technology equipment and energy products, and “appropriately enlarge” the import of consumer goods, Bloomberg news network reported. “Local administrations and government departments must adjust their focus on encouraging exports, limiting imports and placing equal emphasis on both,” according to the statement. To encourage imports, the Chinese government will also provide financing services and encourage commercial banks to offer credit facilities, according to the statement. The State Council however didn’t give details on the products affected, and did not specify how much the tariffs will be cut. The development comes just days before US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner arrives in Beijing for the latest round of talks between the US and China. Chinese and US officials are expected to address various issues including China's trade practices during the discussions scheduled for Thursday and Friday. The issue of China's massive surplus with the US has been controversial and the US officials have long accused China of deliberately keeping its currency low to boost export. China’s economy, the world’s second largest, reported an unexpected trade surplus of USD 670 million in March, with imports reaching USD 160.31 billion, according to Chinese customs data. MP/HJL
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