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China Premier Li says to reduce import-export costs, red tape

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China Premier Li says to reduce import-export costs, red tape
FILE PHOTO: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang meets with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Director General Francis Gurry (unseen) at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing, China, August 28, 2018. Roman Pilipey/Pool via REUTERS   -   Copyright  POOL(Reuters)
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SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China will cut import and export costs for foreign firms, Premier Li Keqiang said in comments posted by the central government on Sunday, as the world’s second largest economy looks to promote an image of being open for business.

The move comes as China is embroiled in a trade standoff with the United States, its largest trading partner. Beijing has made various pledges to open up sectors from autos to finance to more overseas investment.

China will this year look to cut the amount of documentation needed for imports and exports by a third, lower customs fees and reduce the time needed to get customs clearance, the government said in the statement.

“We must strive to improve the business environment and reduce costs for foreign enterprises, and so push forward the opening up process and maintain stable growth of imports and exports,” Li said.

Li, speaking at the World Economic Forum in the Chinese port city of Tianjin earlier this week, said that China will continue to cut import tariffs on some goods and resolutely protect intellectual property, moves aimed at placating concerns from overseas trade partners.

The statement said China would add fast-track channels for clearing certain imports including some agricultural products, and by the end of the year publish a list of products that would need to pay official port fees. Other products would be exempt.

(Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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