The Chinese government has cut the import duty on some high quality imported products that can't be made domestically, including certain specialty infant formulas.

A number of other food and beverage products will be subject to lower import taxes, including whisky, salmon, macadamia nuts, avocados, cheese, and abalone and shrimp.

Import tariffs on 187 product categories including food have been cut by an average of more than 50 per cent, and zero import duty will be applied to partially hydrolysed milk protein formulations, deep amino acid formula, and lactose-free formulas, as well as some additional “special infant milk powders”.

Packaged infant food will see tariffs cut from 15 per cent to 2 per cent, and the rate on macadamia nuts will be halved to 12 per cent.

“These cuts appear to favour specialist importers, and present an opportunity for those brands who have found or are searching for their niche in China,” The Silk Initiative (TSI), a brand consultancy specialising in the Chinese market, said.

“A cut to a particular type of lactose-free baby formula, from 20 per cent down to 0 per cent, is a case in point. This won’t affect Nestle, who manufactures 95 per cent of their products domestically anyhow, but for the right distributor and right importer, this is welcome news.

“We see this trend echoed again in the tariff cuts on certain types of cheese, with cheese tariffs falling to a normalised 8 per cent” TSI said.

The biggest gains are for vermouth, according to TSI, which was previously taxed at 65 per cent but will now be taxed at just 14 per cent.

Also in the beverage category, mineral water will see its tariff slashed from 20 per cent to 10 per cent, while the tariff on whiskey will drop from 10 per cent to 5 per cent.

“This is no doubt good news for imported water brands such as Evian and Perrier and for all alcohol importers,” TSI said.

The reduced import tariffs aims to boost China's domestic economy, but could impact the so-called “daigou” entrepreneurs selling products via the cross border e-commerce channel.