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China set to further boost consumption

Zhang Yue
Updated: Jul 31,2019 11:27 PM    english.www.gov.cn

The State Council’s executive meeting on July 31, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, identified a number of measures to boost consumption of goods, culture and tourism to better meet public needs and further unleash the potential in final demand.

The Chinese government puts great emphasis on boosting commerce and consumption. General Secretary Xi Jinping said that final consumption serves as a sustainable driver of economic growth. It is crucial to build greater capacity of effective supply, enhance the basic role of consumption in economic development and shape a vibrant domestic market by providing new and higher quality supply. Premier Li Keqiang stressed the need to stay adaptive to the trends in consumption upgrading, increase supply while fostering a more enabling business environment, and promote stable consumption growth.

In the first half of this year, retail sales of consumer goods in China reached 19.5 trillion yuan ($2.83 trillion). Consumption contributed as much as 60.1 percent to the country’s GDP growth and remains the most powerful growth engine.

“Government departments should enhance guidance and policy support, work out more ways to spur business activities, and provide greater convenience to consumers,” Premier Li said.

The meeting said that, in response to the trends in commercial transformation and consumption upgrading, the use of technologies such as big data will be encouraged, and consumption of individualized goods and services, smart consumption and other new models of businesses will get a boost.

Traditional shopping malls and aging factory buildings can be converted into new types of consumption facilities for multiple, comprehensive purposes. Pedestrian shopping areas can be renovated in light of local conditions.

The reform to streamline administration, enhance compliance oversight and deliver better services will be expanded. Local governments will be supported in carrying out pilot registration featuring one license, multiple venues for brand chain businesses. The power of approving qualification for refined oil retail sales will be delegated to municipal-level governments.

The meeting decided to encourage the inclusion of facilities for community medical care, elderly care, and household services in the renovation of old residential communities. Such efforts to create consumption clusters that make life more convenient for the people will receive fiscal support.

E-commerce will be introduced to more rural areas, and the weak link of cold chain logistics for farm products will be strengthened at a faster pace.

The list of retail import goods in cross-border e-commerce will be adjusted and expanded. Processing and manufacturing companies in comprehensive bonded zones will be allowed to take commissioned domestic processing businesses from outside the zones.

World renowned brands will be attracted to launch their new products in China to boost consumption and industrial upgrading.

It was agreed at the meeting to take the following measures to stimulate consumption in culture and tourism. Policies for ticket price cuts or exemption at tourist attractions, free admission during off-seasons, and ticket discounts for performances will be encouraged across the country. The Internet Plus model will be applied to better facilitate consumption in culture and tourism.

Activities such as cultural and tourism consumption promotion seasons will be carried out, and new models of tourism such as yacht and cruise tours will be supported.

Evening catering services, shopping and cultural performances will be developed at culture and tourism sites.

“Tourism consumption is a growth driver with a big potential, particularly in boosting consumption and improving people’s lives,” Premier Li said.

The meeting urged better market oversight to ensure safe operation of cultural and tourism sites and their facilities. Any breach of laws and regulations will be duely dealt with. Market players and individuals who get blacklisted will receive multi-agency punishment and discipline. Such efforts will help protect the rights and interests of consumers.

“Cultural consumption deserves our careful study. It should receive as much attention as consumption of goods and tourism, as it contributes to improving people’s lives and countering downward pressure on the economy,” Premier Li said.

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