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Hainan releases 'three lists' of competitive import, export products under RCEP

Foreign Affairs Office of Hainan Province | Updated: 2022-11-22


An aerial view of the Yangpu international container terminal at Yangpu Economic Development Zone. [Photo/Hainan Daily]

In order to assist market entities in capitalizing on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership's (RCEP) auxiliary tools and public products and provide targeted services for enterprises, the "three lists" of Hainan's competitive import and export products under RCEP were released on Nov 17.

The "three lists", compiled by relevant professional institutions as commissioned by the Department of Commerce of Hainan Province, refer to the List of Hainan's Competitive Export Products under RCEP, the List of Hainan's Competitive Import Products under RCEP, and the List of Competitive "Zero-Tariff" Products of Hainan Free Trade Port.

Hainan's Competitive Export Products under RCEP primarily focuses on exports. It selected 695 categories in which Hainan has a competitive export advantage from the 12,600 categories of China's newly added competitive export products (with lower export tariffs) under the RCEP, after comparing the RCEP with other trade agreements in this region in terms of tax reduction commitments made by the countries concerned. The related categories are largely concentrated in electromechanical, textile, pharmaceutical and chemical industries.

The List of Hainan's Competitive Import Products under RCEP mainly focuses on imports. A total of 241 categories in which Hainan has competitive import advantages were selected from the 29,000 categories of China's newly added competitive import products (with lower import tariffs) under RCEP. The categories are mostly concentrated in textile, mechanical and electrical products, base metals and their products, watches and clocks, medical devices, chemical products and other industries.

The List of Competitive "Zero-Tariff" Products of Hainan Free Trade Port primarily focuses on the comparison of Hainan's "zero tariff" policy with the RCEP. This list included products with lower import tariffs under the "zero tariff" policy of Hainan FTP than under the RCEP. In other words, it included imported products for which Hainan holds more competitive advantages than other provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities.

There are 1,674 categories of competitive products on the List of Competitive "Zero-Tariff" Products of Hainan FTP, including 92 categories of means of transport and yachts, 241 categories of raw and auxiliary materials, and 1,341 categories of self-use production equipment. It is worthwhile for relevant foreign trade enterprises and manufacturing enterprises processing value-added products to prioritize, study and use this list.

"The table of tariff concessions for the RCEP is a complicated one with 37 pairs of commitment concessions since member countries generally use bilateral 'bidding in pairs' for commitments on tariff concessions. The table is almost one meter thick if printed on A3 size paper. It is no easy job to have a complete grasp of it," said a relevant responsible person from the Department of Commerce of Hainan Province.

The "three lists" released are intended to help more enterprises to find the optimal solution amidst multiple trade agreements intertwined with each other in the RCEP region, help more market entities in Hainan to better capitalize on the RCEP agreement, and contribute to Hainan's import and export trade development as well as the upgrading of industrial structure.

Since the beginning of this year, Hainan has launched the RCEP policy column, the Hainan RCEP tariff inquiry platform, and the RCEP Enterprise Service Center of Hainan Free Trade Port, and compiled the RCEP manual with 100 O&A as well as tariff guidelines, in a bid to help market entities in the province to make full and good use of the RCEP agreement, and significant progress has been made.

From January to September this year, the import and export volume of goods between Hainan and RCEP member countries reached 51.44 billion yuan ($7.19 billion), with a 24.2 percent year-on-year increase, 16.2 percentage points higher than the national average, and accounting for 35.82 percent of Hainan's total volume of foreign trade in goods over the same period; Hainan put on record 31 enterprises that made a new investment in RCEP member countries, up by a significant 72.22 percent increase over the previous year; the actual investment totaled $383 million, a year-on-year increase of 117.6 percent.

As the dividend of policy on Hainan FTP emerges, RCEP member countries are also moving faster to plan for development in Hainan. From January to September this year, 141 foreign-funded enterprises from RCEP member countries, mainly Singapore, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand, settled in Hainan. Singapore Raffles (Hainan) Medical and Wellness Center, Singapore Wilmar Group's comprehensive Yihai Kerry edible oil processing and central kitchen, Singapore Golden International Group's BREATHE high-end natural plant coating manufacturing, South Korean BioPlus Biotechnology's processing and manufacturing project, have settled in Hainan to share the development opportunities presented by Hainan FTP and carry out win-win cooperation.