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China to drop auto import tariffs from 25 percent to 15 percent

by Justin King

Reports suggest German automakers stand to benefit the most from the proposed change.

China has promised to reduce tariffs on imported vehicles, dropping the rate to 15 percent from its current penalty of 25 percent.

The Ministry of Finance also plans to cut tariffs for auto parts from 10 percent to six percent, potentially improving the bottom line for foreign automakers that already have significant local production via the still-mandatory 50:50 joint ventures with local firms.

Japanese automakers have already begun to praise the shift. Nissan says it will bring "huge benefits," especially for the company's Infiniti brand. Toyota promises to pass along the savings to customers.

A source within a foreign automaker's joint venture told Reuters the change will disproportionately benefit German automakers. BMW and Audi both welcomed the 'opening' of the Chinese market.

China has also signaled intentions to loosen its tight foreign-ownership restrictions for factories.