Tariffs on imported wheat and beef, as well as fuel and cement, have been eliminated or reduced over the next four months in a bid to stabilize consumer prices, the Executive Yuan said on Tuesday.
From yesterday to March 31, the 6.5 percent customs duty on wheat imports has been scrapped, while the tariff on imported beef has been halved from NT$10 to NT$5 per kilogram, as the nation relies heavily on imports for its supply of those two products, the Executive Yuan said in a statement.
Taiwan imports more than 90 percent of its beef supply, and almost all of its wheat for the production of flour and other food items, the Council of Agriculture said.
Domestically, the commodity tax on cement, which is usually paid by producers, has been reduced from NT$320 to NT$160 per tonne, the Executive Yuan said, adding that cement production costs have climbed due to higher coal prices.
The commodity tax on gasoline has also been cut for the four-month period, from NT$6.83 to NT$5.83 per liter, while that on diesel has been lowered from NT$3.99 to NT$2.99 per liter, it said.
Vice Premier Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) on Monday told key beef importers and flour producers in Taiwan about the Cabinet’s plan, urging them to drop their prices to reflect the lower tariffs, the statement said.
Prior to the announcement of the tariff cuts, the government had put a freeze on electricity and liquefied petroleum gas prices until March 31, and on the price of natural gas for last month and this month.
The measures are being implemented to help control inflation, after the 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 latest announcement of the tariff cuts, state-run oil refiner CPC Corp, Taiwan (台灣中油) announced that, effective yesterday, gasoline and diesel prices would drop by NT$1.1 per liter across the board.
Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化) said it would follow suit by matching CPC’s price cuts, also effective yesterday.
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