The Ministry of Finance introduced 336 new preferential tariffs at a conference here on Dec. 19 that included representatives of about 400 enterprises.

The ministry has added 1,200 tariffs since the list of tariffs for ASEAN countries was issued in 2007, increasing the total to 9,500 tariffs, according to the General Department of Customs.

This year's list of preferential import and export tariffs includes some major changes including classification of goods reduced from a 10-digit to an 8-digit code, new items in international trade, classification of chemical substances, plant protection provisions and provisions on ozone-depleting substances, while removing over 40 groups of tariffs with a low import turnover.

Most of the rates on the tariff list remain unchanged, with amended rates for only 24 groups of commodities, mostly waste and scrap metal, pursuant to WTO commitments. As many as 945 out of over 9,550 preferential tariffs are scheduled to be cut under the WTO roadmap in 2012.

However, another 157 import tariffs will be increased to protect domestic production and restrict the trade deficit pursuant to Government Resolution No 11. Items which are discouraged from import include machinery, equipment and spare parts which can be produced domestically.

The conference also offered guidance on compliance with the Law on Environmental Protection.

The ministry last week held a conference to introduce the new preferential tariffs for customs units in southern Dong Nai province. /.