China cuts tariff on donkey hides
Facing a shortage of donkey skin to produce the traditional medicine ejiao, China will lower the tariff on imported donkey hides starting Monday.
A tariff adjustment plan for 2018, published on Dec. 27 by the General Administration of Customs, shows that the import duty rate for a whole piece of donkey hide of a certain weight will be lowered from five to two percent.
Ejiao, or donkey-skin gelatin, has been used for 2,500 years to treat health problems such as anemia and ailments linked to menopause. 
Donkey-hide gelatin /VCG Photo

Donkey-hide gelatin /VCG Photo

Meng Xianqing, vice general manager of Dong'e Ejiao Co. Ltd., China's largest donkey-hide gelatin producer, estimated that the lowering of the tariff would help the company save import costs of over six million yuan (about 918,250 US dollars).
According to Qianzhan Industry Research Institute, the production of China's ejiao manufacturers has grown from 3,200 tonnes in 2013 to 5,600 tonnes in 2016, with an annual growth of more than 20 percent.
However, China's donkey population has been reduced by nearly 50 percent, from 9.4 million in 1996 to 5.4 million in 2015, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
Experts believe the animal's low fertility rate and long gestation period is the primary cause of the decrease. Additionally, fewer farmers are raising donkeys as pack animals due to agricultural industrialization.
Industrial insiders said the price of a single hide has grown from 20 yuan in 2000 to about 3,000 yuan currently.
There are about 44 million donkeys worldwide, mainly in Asia, North Africa and South America.
About 90 percent of the country's ejiao products are made in Shandong Province, which mainly imports donkey skin from Peru, Mexico and Egypt.
Meng Xianqing said the lower tariff would ease donkey scarcity in the short run, with the fundamental solution being to improve breeding in China.
Source(s): Xinhua News Agency