By  on June 9, 2009

WASHINGTON — China has raised export tax rebates on hats, shoes and thousands of other items in a bid to help stabilize its ailing manufacturing sector, the Ministry of Finance said Monday.

The state-run news agency Xinhua reported that export rebates for shoes and hats were increased to 15 percent. This is the seventh time the central government has raised export tax rebates since August, Xinhua said. The most recent rebates apply to 2,600 items.

The number of pairs of shoes imported to the U.S. from China dropped 10.1 percent to 498.7 million pairs in the first quarter of the year, according to U.S. government statistics. Shipments of finished hats declined 5 percent in dollar value to $196.5 million during the same period.

A Ministry of Finance official told Xinhua that the decision to extend export tax rebates was an attempt to spur exports and domestic consumption.

“China’s exports still face difficulties in the short term,” said the official, Liu Shangxi. “The tax rebate increase would help exporters reduce costs and shore up exports.”

Exports from China have fallen precipitously this year, dropping 24.3 percent through April, Xinhua said, although the rate of decline for exports has slowed.

Xinhua said exports of textiles and apparel from China started to rise in the most recent two months, which could indicate that the drop in exports is leveling off. Earlier this year, the government rolled out a series of measures aimed at helping the ailing textile sector, including raising export tax rebates for that industry and unveiling a three-year economic stimulus plan.

Imports of textiles and apparel to the U.S. from China also have fallen this year, declining 3.2 percent in dollar value in the first quarter to $6.4 billion compared with the same period a year earlier.

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