Beijing: World's largest exporter and second-biggest importer China said it will cut import duties on selected energy products, raw materials and consumer goods to boost domestic consumption. "As we maintain stable growth in exports, we should focus more on imports and appropriately expand its amount," China Daily reported a government statement here announcing the Cabinet decision authorising the duty cuts.
   
It said to boost imports, duties will be cut on "some energy products, raw materials, consumer goods closely related to people's daily lives, and key items that China does not produce". The decision underlines the government's intent to buy more from its trade partners to boost domestic consumption and comes after China posted its largest monthly trade deficit in at least a decade in February, it said.
   
China, the world's largest exporter, will have to rely less on exports to drive its economy in coming years, when growth in the US and European markets is predicted to slow. Importing more will lift living standards and ease China's disputes with its trade partners, according to the Ministry. China's overseas trade touched USD 3.64 trillion last year. While exports accounted for USD 1.9 trillion, imports rose to USD 1.74 trillion.
   
Chinese imports constituted nine percent of the global imports. Chinese Vice-Premier Li Keqiang said earlier this month China will import USD 10 trillion worth of goods and services in the five years ending 2015. Wang Shouwen, director of the ministry's department of foreign trade, said China is set to boost imports of capital goods and consumer goods as the country plans to further diversify and expand imports.
   
"One of the Ministry's top trade priorities this year is to increase imports of capital goods, especially spare parts, and consumer goods," the Daily quoted Wang as saying. China's imported goods are currently divided into three main categories, capital, consumer and resources. Resources such as iron ore, copper and aluminum comprise the majority of the country's total imports.
   
"Encouraging the import of capital goods such as advanced spare products is undoubtedly helpful to upgrading China's industry, the promotion of investment efficiency and improving international competitiveness," Wang said.

(Agencies)