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Bank card fees to drop

By Fang Yunyu  (Global Times)

08:10, January 22, 2013

China's top economic planner gave the green light Monday to a nationwide plan to cut bank card transaction charges for businesses, the latest move aimed at boosting domestic consumption as an economic slowdown becomes inevitable.

The transaction fee cuts, effective on February 25, 2013, will help promote economic growth by boosting domestic demand and alleviating burdens on companies, according to a statement released by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

Bank card transaction fees are set by a group of govern­ment agencies, including the central bank, the Ministry of Commerce and the China Banking Regulatory Commis­sion. But the NDRC is the lead­ing body for making det­ailed policies.

Various in­dus­tries - in­cluding real estate, automobiles, and department stores - will see fees lowered by 23 to 24 percent on average, while the catering and entertainment businesses will get the biggest fee reduction at 37.5 percent.

"Transaction charges have been a burden on companies for a long time, and have deterred domestic consumption," Qi Jingmei, a senior economist at the State Information Center under the NDRC, told the Global Times Monday.

Qi said that cutting fees could help boost domestic consumption and foster the economy as a whole.

The world's second largest economy posted its weakest expansion in a decade in 2012, growing 7.8 percent over a year earlier, according to the National Bureau of Statistics last week. China's foreign trade grew 6.2 percent year-on-year, well below the 10 percent target set by policymakers and 2011's 22.5 percent rate.

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