SCIO briefing on measures to stabilize foreign trade

The Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council held a press conference in Beijing on April 10 to brief the media on the measures to stabilize foreign trade. April 12, 2020


How does the dwindling size of business orders from the hardest-hit countries in the west impact domestic foreign trade enterprises? How will the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) help maintain orders and markets for those enterprises? Are there additional policies to secure the stability of foreign trade? Thank you.

Ren Hongbin:

Thank you for your question. On one hand, the MOC has taken a firm grip on virus control and prevention tasks; on the other hand, it has been dedicated to the resumption of work and production so as to implement the decisions and deployments set out by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council since the outbreak of the epidemic. Focusing on maintaining stability in six aspects, we will closely follow the nuances of the situation in an effort to lay a solid foundation for foreign trade and investments. All-out efforts are aided by relevant localities and authorities, while also working to contain the virus from spreading further.

During the current month, the State Council has deliberated multiple times in executive meetings on policies devised to maintain the stability of foreign trade, hoping to help enterprises surmount difficulties and stay optimistic about future opportunities during these times of crisis. As I mentioned, our major approach consists of making good and full use of import and export tax rebates and giving full play to exports credit insurances, which should be enabled to expand. In addition, the MOC will give priority to key enterprises with essential products supplied in the global industrial chain, stimulating paperless applications for import and export licenses and facilitating customs clearances while guiding localities at the provincial, city and county levels to make a list of local enterprises important to foreign trade amid the resumption of work. As you said, the greatest challenges facing our foreign trade enterprises have been the decline of orders, for example, there have been cancellations and suspensions of extant orders and difficulties procuring new orders, which are a result of the global pandemic. We will ensure that as many enterprises as possible can benefit from the policies made in our concerted efforts with relevant authorities and localities that either belong to our counterparts or subordinates. We will, on one hand, perform research nationwide on the exact situation of enterprises in terms of their contracted orders, including new orders, by guiding the use of the country's holistic commerce system; on the other hand, we will draw up targeted policies to address specific conundrums faced by every enterprise, especially those at core positions of the industrial chain.

In our next phase, we will help enterprises to receive overseas orders. We will assist them to maintain the validity of their existing orders and blaze new trails to obtain new orders in markets. Our assistances can be introduced as follows: First, we will provide enterprises with targeted assistance. We will conduct a survey on more than 400,000 foreign trade enterprises, especially the leading enterprises across the country, learning from their actual situations during the resumption of work and production while also coming to understand problems faced by micro, small, and medium-sized businesses. Second, we will give full play to online operations. Our research on establishing a digital foreign trade platform is expected to be completed as soon as possible. Enterprises will be able to receive new orders through the full use of diversified technological approaches for online exhibitions, wherein companies under the guidance of MOC are tasked with making preparatory connections, online promotion, live webcasts and remote negotiations. Third, export products are encouraged to be sold in the domestic market. Foreign trade enterprises are advised to cooperate with major online commerce platforms to sell their products both online and offline to foster new brands and better meet domestic demand for consumption. The docking of standards between domestic and overseas markets should be expedited so that products can be sold from the same assembly line with the same criteria and the same qualities both in and out of the country. It can also smooth and accelerate the stocked products to be sold domestically. Fourth, we should ensure stable and smooth international logistic supply chains. While responding to the updates of international logistic supplies, we will center on safeguarding imports, exports and production of key products in the industrial chains involved in foreign trade. We will improve aviation and freight efficiencies, increase freight capacities between China and Europe and take full charge of transferred sources of commodities by air and by sea. Fifth, trade should be enhanced for the promotion of public services with guaranteed fairness. We will update information regarding trade and investment environments in different countries, regarding market information for guiding outbound investments and cooperation in different countries, regarding supporting localities, industrial guilds and trade promotion institutes to establish platforms for public services; legal and information services will be provided to help enterprises participate in trade promotional activities held both at home and abroad. Sixth, we will strengthen international economic and trade promotion. We are willing to consolidate the anti-virus cooperation with the international community, refine the international industrial supply and logistical chains in joint efforts and lower taxations and barriers so as to contribute to maintaining the stability of the global economy and trade with the rest world, hand in hand. Thank you.

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