SHANGHAI - Import tariffs will be reduced on a range of products and red tape involved in import application procedures will be further cut, to "maintain balanced trade", a senior official told China Daily.

"We will launch a series of measures to stimulate imports this year, including adjusting tariffs on some categories of goods and further simplifying the administrative process," Zhong Shan, vice-minister of commerce, told China Daily on the sidelines of the East China Fair, which opened in Shanghai on Tuesday.

Zhong declined to elaborate on the exact measures that will be introduced.

Chen Deming, minister of commerce, said in December at the annual commerce work conference that an important task for the ministry this year is to boost imports. A forum dedicated to issues concerning imports is scheduled to take place in late March.

Zhang Xiaoji, a top trade researcher at the Development Research Center, a think tank affiliated to the State Council, said there is plenty of scope to slash tariffs on certain categories, including luxury goods.

"China's imports will increase rapidly", if any move is made in that direction, he said.

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