China is to bring out new policies and improve government efficiency in order to counter slack export growth this year, said senior trade, customs, finance and taxation officials at a televised conference Friday.
The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation (MOFTEC), the People's Bank of China (PBOC) and the State Taxation Administration are soon to publish detailed rules on mortgage loans for export tax rebates, said MOFTEC Minister Shi Guangsheng at the meeting.
Delayed tax rebates have been a major headache for exporters and negatively influence their capital flow.
Some provinces and municipalities started this year to loan to exporters with the tax rebates as collateral. This move won praise from the central government for improving exporters' financial status.
Shi said the government plans to spread the measure throughout the country. "Detailed rules are coming out soon so that all commercial banks can implement the scheme," said Shi.
China's exports grew 8.8 percent year-on-year to US$124.6 billion, slowing from last year's 28 percent. June saw China's exports decline 0.6 percent, the first drop since July 1999.
Shi said slowing world economic growth, especially in the United States, European Union and Japan, weakened external demand for Chinese products.
He added that growing trade protectionism on the international market and the noncompetitiveness of Chinese products helped depress the country's export growth.
The majority of China's exports are low value-added products, such as garments, toys and shoes, and compete on the international market mainly in terms of price.
The low price of Chinese products is often taken advantage of by many countries, which are eager to protect domestic industries. Official statistics show China has been involved in 429 anti-dumping charges in the world, with 12 in the first half of this year and 39 last year.
Shi said that in the face of these difficulties, officials must pay great attention to traditional export products, major export companies, important export areas and critical markets such as the US, Japan and the EU.
Shi called on trade officials to enhance co-operation and co-ordination with taxation bureau and customs.
He said local trade officials who have already completed this step should expand their efforts to departments of finance, foreign exchange, banks and quality inspection.
Mou Xinsheng, director-general of the General Administration of Customs, promised at the meeting that customs would accelerate the construction of an electronic port system to facilitate clearance.
PBOC Deputy Governor Xiao Gang said banks would continue to lean towards export companies in their financial services. He said banks' loans to trade companies increased 12.6 per cent year-on-year to 118.2 billion yuan (US$14.3 billion) in the first half year.
Loans to foreign-invested companies increased 8 per cent to 332.6 billion yuan (US$40.2 billion) during the same period.
Customs statistics indicate increases in foreign-invested companies' exports made up 89.5 percent of the country's total export growth in the January-June period.
Xiao said banks would enhance their financial support of small and medium-sized enterprises, and of exports of machinery, electronic products and high-tech products.
Cui Junhui, deputy director-general of the State Taxation Bureau, urged taxation officials to improve their efficiency and step up crackdowns on false tax rebates through fake certificates.
(China Daily 07/30/2001_