China could lower tariffs for agriculture imports: study

Under a new global trade deal China would cut farm tariffs and open one of the least protected agriculture markets in developing countries, a new study by a Chinese expert says.

The study by a professor of international trade at China Agriculture University point out that a deal at the Doha negotiations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) would cut Chinese farm tariffs by about a sixth. The study says that China's tariffs which were cut after tough negotiations at the time of China's entry into the WTO in 2001 are only a quarter of the world average.

Further as China applies duties close to the tariff ceilings unlike other developing countries a cut in the ceiling would result in real reduction in duties levied.

The study, which has been produced for the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICSTD) goes on to state that China is one of the least protected markets for agricultural products in the developing world. The ICTSD is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to the promotion of research into trade and development.

China along with other large emerging economies is under US pressure to open up its markets to American goods mainly manufactured products. However, a deal that would open up China's food market could also be of equal interest to American businesses.

Under the new proposals, China's farm tariffs would be cut by about a third, but in real terms this may work out to only 13 to 15 per cent as developing countries and recent members are eligible for special treatment.