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Wider opening-up pledged for stable foreign trade

Updated: Jun 28,2020 09:32 PM

Premier Li Keqiang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, chaired a symposium on foreign trade on June 28.

Vice-Premier Han Zheng, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, attended the gathering.

At the symposium, the Ministry of Commerce and General Administration of Customs reported the current situations of foreign trade and following plans; managers from several enterprises briefed those at the symposium on their situations in operations, exports and imports via video link.

While learning about their orders, hiring, funding, and supply chains, Premier Li asked for their opinions on market situations and State policies, and urged related departments to help them through the difficult time.

According to the Premier, stabilizing the fundamentals of foreign trade holds the key to the overall picture of economy and employment, and foreign trade has started to pick up in recent months thanks to targeted support measures.

As COVID-19 is still spreading worldwide, Premier Li noted, China is facing a complicated environment in foreign trade as the nation is deeply integrated into the world economy, which is mired in the pandemic.

He said China should be fully prepared for the challenges, and make concerted efforts in six priorities and six fronts with firm confidence in development.

Premier Li said the nation should eye a higher level of opening-up and make innovations in foreign trade to ensure employment and economic development.

To secure employment, people’s livelihoods and market entities means fast and solid implementation of policies set out in the Government Work Report meant to help enterprises overcome current difficulties, the Premier said, urging fresh moves to stabilize foreign trade and investment besides expanding domestic demand.

The moves should lean toward micro, small and medium-sized businesses and labor-intensive ones, and meanwhile support large foreign trade enterprises in addressing their troubles to safeguard a stable job market, he added.

Export tax rebates should be improved and made at a faster pace, Premier Li said.

Financial institutions should be guided to push foreign trade firms out of liquidity problems through stronger financing support in the form of credit and guarantees, among others.

For better services to firms in the foreign trade sector, reforms should continue in customs clearance facilitation.

The Premier stressed aligning epidemic prevention and control measures with efforts to steady foreign trade and investment and vice versa, calling for enhanced communication and coordination with related countries, smooth channels for international freight, and more “fast-track lanes” facilitating the movement of business people.

Export-oriented firms should be encouraged to transform themselves in pursuit of higher product quality and higher value added.

The Premier also called for accelerated development of new business forms and patterns in the foreign trade sector, including cross-border e-commerce and online trading, diversified investment in building overseas warehouses, greater support for service platforms aiming to boost exports of small and medium-sized enterprises, and cultivation of new growth drivers in the sector.

Improvements in measures for stabilizing foreign trade and investment should suit local conditions, he said.

Premier Li said China will unleash more measures to expand opening-up, and promote multi-layered international cooperation in various fields.

With deepening opening-up in manufacturing, the country also will enlarge opening-up in the service industry, especially the high-end service sector, further build a market-oriented and internationalized business environment under the rule of law, and improve favorable policies for foreign investors, making it a hot spot for overseas investment, he said.

He also urged China’s central, western and northeast regions to increase their attraction in industrial transfer, and make more efforts to maintain stable industrial and supply chains.

Vice-Premiers Hu Chunhua and Liu He, State Councilors Wang Yi and Xiao Jie, and He Lifeng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, also attended the symposium.