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    Sustained policy support to beef up foreign trade growth

    Updated: Jul 12,2019 11:04    Xinhua

    BEIJING — Amid mounting external uncertainties, China has rolled out an array of policies to stabilize expansion of foreign trade with new measures unveiled by the State Council on July 10 expected to inject new impetus into the sector.

    China will improve its fiscal and tax policies to further lower the country’s overall import tariff level, refine export tax rebate policies and speed up the tax rebate process, a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on July 10.

    Premier Li also called for efforts to strengthen financial support for foreign trade firms.

    In line with international trade rules, these measures are conducive to enhancing competitiveness of enterprises operating in China, said Li Yong from the China Association of International Trade, noting that measures taken by government to beef up foreign trade since last year had paid off.

    Thanks to firm policy support, China’s foreign trade in merchandize hit a record high of 30.51 trillion yuan (about $4.5 trillion) in 2018, up 9.7 percent year-on-year.

    The sound momentum continued to gather strength since the beginning of this year. In the first five months, China’s foreign trade of goods rose 4.1 percent year-on-year to reach 12.1 trillion yuan, reporting strong resilience and a more balanced structure.

    China will explore and propose more special types of insurance for foreign trade enterprises, guide financial institutions to increase foreign trade financing support to small and medium-sized enterprises and improve the convenience of RMB settlement, according to a statement released after the meeting.

    To stabilize foreign trade, the key is to further expand opening-up and focus on enhancing the endogenous power of enterprises through market-oriented reforms and by economic means, the statement said.

    The latest move to stabilize foreign trade came after China declared new opening-up measures at the G20 summit and released revised negative lists for market access of foreign investment, which allow foreign investors to run majority-share-controlling or wholly-owned businesses in more sectors.

    Meanwhile, business environment encouraging sustainable growth of foreign trade has been continuously enhanced as the establishment of six new pilot free trade zones (FTZs), and expansion of the Shanghai FTZ is already underway.

    As more policy dividends are expected to unleash larger potential for the growth of foreign trade, market players have already strengthened their presence in the world’s second largest economy.

    Data from the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) showed on July 11 that in the first half of 2019, a total of 20,131 new foreign-funded enterprises were established in China, showing that the country remains a magnet for investment among global investors.

    The meeting on July 10 also called for faster development of new industries, including cross-border e-commerce, and enhancing trade facilitation by simplifying import and export documents, cutting customs clearance time and reducing port charges.

    These measures will bring tangible benefits to enterprises and help them to forge stronger competitiveness, said Bai Ming, deputy director of the International Market Research Department under the MOC.