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China to slash auto import tariff in half?

by Justin King

Government officials are said to be considering a reduction from 25 percent to as low as 10 percent.

China is reportedly considering a significant reduction in tariffs imposed on imported vehicles.

Foreign automakers currently face a 25-percent import tariff to ship cars into the world's largest automotive market. Establishing a local factory comes with its own restrictions, requiring a 50:50 joint venture with a Chinese company.

President Donald Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on imports from countries that have a trade imbalance with the US. The threats appear to have pressured China to voluntarily consider backing down from its steep tariffs and foreign ownership restrictions.

To be clear, I think a fair outcome for all is quite likely. China has already shown a willingness to open their markets and I believe they will do the right thing.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 9, 2018

Unnamed sources tell Bloomberg that China's State Council is prepared to drop import tariffs to 10-15 percent. The US may not benefit from the plan, however, as China has also threatened to impose an additional 25 percent import duty on American-made automobiles in response to US-imposed import duties on Chinese vehicles.

With plenty of apparent posturing on both sides, it is too early to tell if the threats and leaks represent official policy intentions.

We are not in a trade war with China, that war was lost many years ago by the foolish, or incompetent, people who represented the U.S. Now we have a Trade Deficit of $500 Billion a year, with Intellectual Property Theft of another $300 Billion. We cannot let this continue!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 4, 2018