China Scraps Import Duties on Anti-cancer Treatments


China’s Ministry of Finance has announced the cancellation of import duties on 28 pharmaceutical products, including anti-cancer medication.

The Ministry of Finance released the “State Council Import Duty Regulation Commission’s Public Announcement Concerning Reductions of Import Tariffs on Pharmaceutical Products (国务院关税税则委员会关于降低药品进口关税的公告) on 23 April.

The Announcement mandates a trial reduction to zero of the import tariff on pharmaceutical products that contain alkaloids and have anti-cancer properties starting from 1 May 2018, as part of efforts to “reduce the pharmaceutical cost burden on cancer patients and provide them with more treatment options.”

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Finance tax department said that the adjustment would see the cancelation of import tariffs on a total of 28 anti-cancer pharmaceuticals.

In addition to  “further safeguarding the pharmaceutical product supply and raising domestic medical treatment levels,” China’s Ministry of Finance said that the tariff cancellation would be “of benefit to maintaining an open and inclusive multilateral trading system.”

The tariff cancellation arrives amidst escalating trade tensions between China and the US, after the Trump administration mooted a tariff of 25% on as much as USD$150 billion in Chinese imports, prompting Beijing to respond with the mooting retaliatory tariffs as well as file dispute proceeding with the World Trade Organization.