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China to Further Increase Tax Rebate for Light Industry

Tax rebates for China's light industry should be increased to alleviate cost burdens on exporters, the cabinet said on Wednesday.

China also plans to remove unreasonable administrative fees and charges on industry players, and offer more, said a statement released after the executive meeting of the State Council presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao.

Through the foreign trade development fund, set up by the central government, active assistance will be made to boost exports and help companies' promotion and acquisition efforts in the international market, members said at the meeting.

The tax rebate rate has been raised three times this year in China. The most recent increase came Monday. It covered a list of 3,770 items which account for 27.9 percent of the country's total exports.

Items include labor-intensive, mechanical and electrical products. The rebate takes effect December 1.

The previous two rebates were made in August and at the beginning of this month.

Official data showed that China's October export growth slowed to 19.2 percent from 21.5 percent in September.

"Light industry is China's strong point and its stable and healthy development would be of prime importance," members said while explaining the reason behind the move.

The industry is suffering severely from changes in the domestic and international economic environment in recent months. Concrete measures should be taken to support the industry to weather the difficulties.

China levies value-added tax on most products, but refunds varying amounts of that tax on goods that are exported. The government usually adjusts the size of export tax rebates for different types of goods when it is trying to encourage or discourage growth in particular industries.

Several other policies were passed at the meeting to support the development of the light industry. Financial subsidies were offered to rural residents and people in quake-hit regions and remote areas in China in an effort to boost domestic demand on their products.

More funding would be allocated to support the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as to encourage technical innovations and upgrades in these companies.

The draft of arbitration law on land contract related disputes, which, after revision, would be submitted to the standing committee of the National People's Congress for approval, was also discussed at the meeting. Two revised drafts of ordinances on grassland and forestry fire prevention will be implemented after some changes.

(Xinhua News Agency November 20, 2008)

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