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Import policies to assist trade balance

Zhao Yinan and Zhong Nan
Updated: Sep 30,2014 10:05 AM     China Daily

China rolled out a package of import-boosting policies on Sept 29 as the world’s top merchandise trader is likely to miss its trade target for the third consecutive year.

One of the key steps in these policies is to readjust the list of government-encouraged imports, aiming to bring more advanced technologies and key equipment parts into China.

As a supportive policy, the government will allow companies to provide leasing on imported equipment for buyers at home, according to an article published by the State Council on its website after the meeting.

The new policies are “not only to boost imports”, Premier Li Keqiang said at the meeting, but also to improve China’s economic structure and narrow a rising trade surplus.

Other trade-boosting policies on Sept 29 include preferential tax policies, which will be given to imported equipment for science, research and development to encourage industrial upgrading of companies.

In addition, companies can book customs clearance on holidays and customs will be open around the clock to facilitate the flow of goods.

The government will import more products such as beef, lamb and seafood, and an e-commerce platform will be set up to encourage companies to build overseas networks.

He Jingtong, a professor at the Institute of Economics of Nankai University in Tianjin, said the government has been trying to shift from importing natural resources, capital and consumer goods to introducing advanced technology to local enterprises such as robots, precision machines and dual purpose products, as part of efforts to balance import and export volume and upgrade China’s trade structure.

He said that from a long-term perspective, these high-end products and technologies will help small and medium-sized enterprises in China grow faster with sustainable and innovative technologies and concepts.

Beijing’s trade target for the year was a 7.5 percent increase in total trade value of imports and exports.

For the first eight months, China’s exports gained 3.8 percent to $1.48 trillion, while imports edged up a mere 0.6 percent to $1.28 trillion.

The monthly trade surplus in August jumped 77.8 percent year-on-year and hit a record high again, as weak domestic investment and falling commodity prices continued to affect imports, which stood at $159 billion, a year-on-year decrease of 2.4 percent.

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