China’s narrowing export decline for five consecutive months signifies that the stabilized and rebounding status of the country’s foreign trade remains unchanged, said Shen Danyang, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce, on Aug 17.
The State Council’s executive meeting on Aug 16 acknowledged the implementation of a series of policies on facilitating the growth of China’s foreign trade, yet it urged local authorities to intensify efforts in implementing existing policies to stabilize exports and imports.
According to the meeting, China will work on further opening up, duplicate trade facilitation measures adopted by the country’s free trade zones to other regions, and encourage two-way investment to boost foreign trade.
“Free trade zone is an effective way for expanding opening-up and exploring new business and regulation modes,” said Zhao Ping, a director at the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, adding that with the experiences in foreign capital management and regulation, FTZs in China can contribute to further opening up and bolstering foreign trade.
The four FTZs in Shanghai, Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian have taken an initiative in investment management system reform based on negative lists, continuing to expand the commercial registration system, and promoting “one-stop” services for foreign investment and cooperation.
China’s foreign trade is facing greater challenges as the cost advantage of the country’s labor-intensive products is weakening. Regarding this, Zhao Ping said that as the processing link is moved elsewhere, we can strive to retain the downstream chain of research, design, and trade.
She also called for attracting foreign investment to China’s central and western regions to lower costs, form a competitive advantage in the whole industry chain, and drive the development of foreign trade.
Data from the Ministry of Commerce shows that from January to July, foreign investment in the western region of China reached 36.5 billion yuan ($5.5 billion), an increase of 31 percent year-on-year. In addition, this year, China’s foreign direct investment (FDI) maintained rapid growth, with the amount of investment abroad exceeding that of foreign investment, becoming a net capital exporter.
Whether China’s foreign trade can achieve sustainable and rapid growth depends on the demand of the international market. While the world market is still in the process of recovery, we need to actively use the high-speed growth of new business forms, such as cross-border e-commerce, to boost foreign trade, said Zhao.
She said cross-border e-commerce accounts for 85 percent of exports, with a growth rate of over 20 percent. It will have a supporting role in maintaining the steady growth of foreign trade.