Taiwan cuts tariff on imported beef, some commodities to tackle inflation

11/30/2021 10:55 PM
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Fuel prices at a CPC gas station Tuesday evening, before the price cut takes effect at midnight. CNA photo Nov. 30, 2021
Fuel prices at a CPC gas station Tuesday evening, before the price cut takes effect at midnight. CNA photo Nov. 30, 2021

Taipei, Nov. 30 (CNA) Tariffs on imported wheat and beef, and on fuel and cement will be reduced over the next four months, in a bid to stabilize consumer prices, the Cabinet said Tuesday.

During the period Dec. 1 to March 31 next year, the 6.5 percent customs duty on wheat imports will be removed, while the tariff on imported beef will be lowered from NT$10 (US$0.36) to NT$5 per kilogram, as Taiwan relies heavily on imports for its supply of those two products, the Cabinet said in a statement.

Taiwan imports more than 90 percent its beef supply and almost all of its wheat for the production of flour and other food items, according to the Council of Agriculture.

Domestically, the commodity tax on cement, which is usually paid by the producers, will be reduced from NT$320 to NT$160 per metric ton, the Cabinet said, noting that cement production costs have climbed due to higher coal prices.

The commodity tax on gasoline will also be cut during the four-month period, from NT$6.83 to NT$5.83 per liter, while that on diesel will be lowered from NT$3.99 to NT$2.99 per liter, the Cabinet said.

On Monday, Vice Premier Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) informed key beef importers and flour producers in Taiwan about the Cabinet's plan, urging them to drop their prices in reflection of the lower tariffs, according to the statement.

Prior to the announcement of the tariff cuts, the government had put a freeze on electricity and liquefied petroleum gas prices until March 31 next year and on the price of natural gas for the months of November and December 2021, the Cabinet noted.

The measures are being implemented to help control inflation, after Taiwan's consumer price index rose more than 2 percent year-on-year between August and October, with the September figure spiking by a monthly 2.62 percent to the highest in 103 months.

Following the Cabinet's announcement Tuesday of the tariff cuts, the state-run oil refiner CPC Corp., Taiwan said it will reduce its gasoline and diesel prices by a NT$1.1 per liter across the board, effective midnight Tuesday.

CPC's main competitor, Formosa Petrochemical Corp., announced an identical NT$1.1 per liter price cut, also effective midnight Tuesday.

(By Lai Yu-chen, Tseng Chi-yi and Kay Liu)

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