Poli­cies aim for steady trade growth

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHANG YUE and ZHONGNAN Con­tact the writ­ers at zhangyue@chi­nadaily.com.cn

We should sup­port steady growth both in ex­ports and im­ports to ad­vance the coun­try’s in­dus­trial up­grade and at­tract new for­eign in­vest­ment beyond that which is al­ready in the Chi­nese mar­ket.” Premier Li Ke­qiang

China will re­in­force ex­ist­ing poli­cies and stream­line ad­min­is­tra­tive pro­ce­dures to pro­mote steady growth of im­ports and ex­ports, the gov­ern­ment an­nounced on Tues­day.

Tues­day’s State Coun­cil ex­ec­u­tive meet­ing, chaired by Premier Li Ke­qiang, fo­cused on key prob­lems con­cern­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of trade pol­icy and measures needed to ad­dress them.

Li said the slug­gish global out­look and weak over­seas de­mand have un­der­mined ef­forts to shore up China’s trade vol­ume. Ris­ing do­mes­tic man­u­fac­tur­ing costs also have con­se­quences for China’s im­ports and ex­ports, he said.

A num­ber of poli­cies have been adopted by the gov­ern­ment since 2013 to en­cour­age the steady growth of for­eign trade, and China re­mains the world’s largest trad­ing na­tion in goods in re­cent years. Yet be­cause of the global financial cri­sis and re­sult­ing slow­down, China’s for­eign trade growth has lost some mo­men­tum.

Cus­toms fig­ures show that in the first half of 2016, China’s for­eign trade stood at 11.13 tril­lion yuan ($1.68 tril­lion), a drop of 3.3 per­cent year-on-year, while ex­ports amounted to 6.4 tril­lion yuan, down by 2.1 per­cent. Im­ports de­creased by 4.7 per­cent to 4.73 tril­lion yuan, but the coun­try’s trade sur­plus in­creased by 5.9 per­cent to 1.67 tril­lion yuan.

“We should sup­port steady growth both in ex­ports and im­ports to ad­vance the coun­try’s in­dus­trial up­grade and at­tract new for­eign in­vest­ment beyond that which is al­ready in the Chi­nese mar­ket,” Li said.

High fi­nanc­ing costs for com­pa­nies re­main a ma­jor bur­den in main­tain­ing trade growth. Other prob­lems in­clude slug­gish trade pol­icy im­ple­men­ta­tion as well as out­dated manage­ment meth­ods, ac­cord­ing to ex­perts.

A third-party eval­u­a­tion con­ducted by the State Coun­cil’s Devel­op­ment Re­search Cen­ter in July found that China’s trade faces head­winds from deep ad­just­ments in the global econ­omy, as well as from the coun­try’s eco­nomic tran­si­tion.

The cen­ter’s eval­u­a­tion also found that of­fi­cials were not suf­fi­ciently aware of the prob­lems that would be en­coun­tered in pol­icy im­ple­men­ta­tion, and the coun­try has not firmly es­tab­lished its com­pe­tence in tech­nol­ogy, brand­ing and mar­ket­ing in the global mar­ket.

More measures will be in­tro­duced to en­sure the steady growth of China’s for­eign trade, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment re­leased by the State Coun­cil af­ter the meet­ing.

For ex­am­ple, de­tailed ad­just­ments will be made to ex­ist­ing poli­cies to bet­ter fa­cil­i­tate for­eign trade devel­op­ment and to stream­line pro­ce­dures in trade gate­ways.

Financial in­sti­tu­tions will be en­cour­aged to pro­vide more credit sup­port to en­ter­prises with sub­stan­tial busi­ness prof­its. And ex­port credit in­sur­ance will cover a wider range.

In ad­di­tion, pro­ce­dures for tax re­im­burse­ment for ex­ports will be more ef­fi­cient, and un­nec­es­sary har­bor and ship­ping costs will be re­duced, the state­ment said.

Also, poli­cies will be fur­ther ad­justed to fa­cil­i­tate new­types of trade, such as cross-bor­der e-com­merce. The role of bi­lat­eral in­vest­ment will be fur­ther en­cour­aged to boost for­eign trade, by pro­mot­ing the coun­try’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion on ca­pac­ity, the state­ment said.

Equipped with big data sys­tems, many Chi­nese com­pa­nies’ prod­ucts and sup­ply chain sys­tems have al­ready ex­pe­ri­enced dra­matic changes. Many com­pa­nies have be­gun to ad­just their sup­ply chain net­works for dif­fer­ent prod­ucts based on big data about de­mand in for­eign mar­kets, said Zhao Ying, a re­searcher at the In­sti­tute of In­dus­trial Eco­nomics at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences.

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