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China Unveils Tariff Adjustments for Next Year to Boost Foreign Trade

BEIJING, Dec 24 (Reuters) - China announced on Monday adjustments to some import and export tariffs for 2019, removing import duties on alternatives to soymeal for animal feeds and tariffs on fertilizers and iron ore exports, to boost foreign trade as the economy slows.

Import tariffs on so-called alternative meals, including rapeseed meal, cotton meal, sunflower meal and palm meal, will be removed from Jan. 1, 2019, along with those for the materials of some pharmaceutical goods, the finance ministry said in a statement on its website.

China will levy temporary tariffs on more than 700 items next year and maintain relatively low import tariffs for aircraft engines, the ministry added.

Temporary tax rates for manganese slag and lithium-ion battery cells for new energy vehicles will be removed and most-favoured-nation tax rates will be imposed on those products, according to the ministry.

For exports, China will not levy any export tariffs on 94 products next year including fertilisers, iron ore, slag, coal tar and wood pulp.

It will also further cut most-favoured-nation tariffs on 298 information technology products from July 2019. The statement did not give details.

China's economic growth slowed to 6.5 percent in the third quarter, the weakest pace since the global financial crisis and is expected to slow further next year amid a trade war with the United States.

A key item in the trade tussle is U.S. soybean exports. China imposed a 25 percent tariffs on soybeans in July in response to U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods causing a sharp drop in imports. Soybeans are key material for animal feed for China's vast livestock herds.

The U.S. is the second-largest soybean supplier to China with that component of the trade between the countries worth $12 billion in 2017. (Reporting by Stella Qiu and Hallie Gu in BEIJING; Editing by Richard Borsuk and Christian Schmollinger)

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