China lowers tariffs on corn deep-processing imports in 2021 02-09-2021

Summary: This year, China will adjust the MFN/conventional/provisional tariffs on part imports, including imported corn deep-processing products.

On 23 Dec., 2020, the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council issued a Notice of Adjustment Schemes on Import Tariff Rates in 2021, announcing that from 1 Jan., 2021, the most favored nation (MFN) tariffs, conventional tariffs, and provisional tariffs of some import goods would be adjusted. This is eye-catching, as it is reported to be a big adjustment in recent years, not only for tariff rates but also for tax items.   

Provisional tariffs

On 1 Jan., the provisional tariff rates were dropped for 883 import commodities (excluding goods under tariff quota), including 2 corn deep-processing products:

  • Lysine ester and lysine salt (HS Code: 29224190): 6% for MFN tariffs vs. 5% for provisional tariffs – the same with 2020
  • Threonine (HS Code: 29225090): 6.50% for MFN tariffs vs. 5% for provisional tariffs – the same with 2020
Table Provisional tariffs for imported corn deep-processing products
HS Code
Name of Commodity 2021 MFN Tariff Rate, % 2021 Provisional Tariff Rate, %
29224190 Lysine ester and lysine salt  6 5
29225090 Threonine 6.50 5
Source: Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council & CCM

Conventional tariffs

Since 1 Jan., conventional tariffs under bilateral trade agreements and the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) between China and New Zealand, Peru, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Iceland, Australia, South Korea, Chile, Georgia, and Pakistan have been further lowered, with some imports from Mongolia applicable to the conventional tariffs under the APTA. Meanwhile, China has begun to impose its 1st round of conventional tariffs on part commodities originated from Mauritius.

Most corn deep-processing imports have witnessed further decreased conventional tariffs, such as:

  • Corn starch (HS Code: 11081200):
  • Imported from Switzerland: 4% vs. 6% in 2020
  • Imported from South Korea: 10.60% vs. 12% in 2020
  • Lysine (HS Code: 29224110):
  • Imported from South Korea: 2.60% vs. 3% in 2020
  • Sodium glutamate (HS Code: 29224220):
  • Imported from Pakistan: 4% vs. 4.50% in 2020
  • Imported from South Korea: 3% vs. 4% in 2020
  • Other corn deep-processing goods (such as citric acid and sorbitol): dropping significantly
  • This tariff decline enables corn deep-processing imports to enter the Chinese market at a lower tariff. However, the import volume of such goods to the country is moderate, based on its abundant product ranges and sufficient supply. Moreover, the abovementioned countries are not key import origins for China, so this tariff adjustment will unlikely put a great impact on the local corn deep-processing industry.  

Table Further lower conventional tariffs for imported corn deep-processing products
HS Code
Name of Commodity MFN Tariff Rate, % Conventional Tariff, %
Asia Pacific Chile Pakistan New Zealand Peru Costa Rica Switzerland Iceland Australia South Korea Georgia Maritius
11081200 Corn starch 20   0   0 0 0 4 0 0 10.60   0
29181400 Citric acid 6.50   0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.90 0 0
17023000 Glucose and glucose syrup (fructose<20%) 30   0 0 0 0 0     0     24
17024000 Glucose and glucose syrup (20%≤fructose<50%, excluding inverted sugar) 30   0   0 0 0     0     24
17026000 Fructose and fructose syrup (fructose>50%, excluding inverted sugar) 30   0   0 0 0   0 0     24
29054300 Mannitol 8   0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
29054910 Xylitol  5.50   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
29054400 Sorbitol 8   0 11.20 0 0 0 2.80 0 0 4.20 0 0
29321200 Furfural 6   0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
29321300 Furfuryl alcohol and tetrahydrofurfuryl alcohol 6   0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
29224110 Lysine 5   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2.60 0 0
29224190 Lysine ester and lysine salt 6   0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
29224210 Glutamic acid 5 3.30 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0
29224220 Sodium glutamate 5   0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0
29061320 Inositol 5.50   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Source: Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council & CCM

Tariff quota

The notice also highlights that in 2021, corn imports to China will continue to be subject to tariff-rate quota (TRQ), with other corn (HS Code: 10059000) having the same rates with 2020 (1% for TRQ, 65% for MFN tariffs, and 180% for general rates). 


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