Summary: China started to impose a tariff of 30% or 80% on imported sugar syrup from 1 Jan., 2021.
On 23 Dec., 2020, the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council issued a Notice on the Tariff Adjustment Plan 2021 (the Plan), specifying that the import tariffs on some commodities will be adjusted from 1 Jan., 2021. Besides, according to the announcement, the number of tariff code now comes to 8,580 after adjustment.
According to the Plan, the tariff code 17029000 (others including inverted sugar and other sugar and syrup mixtures containing 50% by weight of fructose in the dry state) was removed. Three new specific items were added, which are 17029011 (cane sugar or beet sugar in aqueous solution), 17029012 (cane sugar containing more than 50% sucrose, simple solid mixtures of beet sugar and other sugars) and 17029090 (others). For the three newly-added specific items, a 30% MFN tariff rate and an 80% general tariff rate were applied.
The adjustments above are mainly aimed at regulating the surge in imports of sugar syrup (sucrose aqueous solution with tariff code 17029000). According to customs data, China imported 116,300 tonnes of sugar syrup (17029000) in Nov. 2020, an increase of 83,400 tonnes YoY, with the import price falling by 6.91% YoY. Form Jan. to Nov. 2020, China imported up to 858,900 tonnes of sugar syrup, an increase of 730,700 tonnes YoY. According to industry insiders, the number of imported sugar syrup in China would reach millions of tonnes in 2020, which might exceed the annual sugar production of Guangdong, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and be second to the production of Guangxi and Yunnan. The low import price has become one of the main factors affecting the domestic sugar market.
In addition, two new specific items were added before the tariff code 2106.9090. They are 2106.9061 (cane sugar or beet sugar aqueous solution containing flavouring or colouring matter) and 2106.9062 (cane sugar with more than 50% sucrose, simple solid mixtures of beet sugar and other food ingredients). The newly-added specific items are subject to 12% MFN tariff rates and 90% general tariff rates.
Adjustment of the conventional tariff rates
From 1 Jan., 2021, the conventional tariff rates under China's bilateral trade agreements with New Zealand, Peru, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Iceland, Australia, South Korea, Chile, Georgia and Pakistan and the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) will be further reduced. Conventional tariff rates of the APTA will also be applied to certain imports from Mongolia from 1 Jan., 2021. At the same time, China started to apply the first year tariff rate to some goods from Mauritius, according to the free trade agreement with the country.
The further tariff reduction involves some sweetener products. The conventional tariff rates for saccharin and its salts (HS 29251100), sodium cyclamate (HS 29299010) and mannitol (HS 29054300) imported from Pakistan will be reduced by 1%. The conventional tariff rate for saccharin and its salts (HS 29251100) imported from Korea will be reduced by 0.90%. The conventional tariff rate for sorbitol (HS 29054400) and sorbitol (HS 38246000) other than the specific item 29054400 imported from Korea and Sweden will be lowered by 1.40%. The conventional tariff rate for aspartame (HS 29242930) imported from Sweden will be reduced by 0.70%.
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