China has newly identified 22 cities as venues for comprehensive cross-border e-commerce pilot zones in an effort to boost cross-border e-commerce, promote opening-up and upgrade foreign trade, under a decision made at a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on July 13.
The Chinese government puts great emphasis on the development of pilot zones as it sees cross-border e-commerce as a key step in nurturing new development drivers and increasing the country’s global competitiveness. President Xi Jinping pointed out that China will expand foreign trade, develop new models and new forms of trade, and turn itself into a trader of quality. Premier Li Keqiang has stressed the importance of cross-border e-commerce and other new forms of business in all his government work reports in the past four years.
“Our firm commitment to opening-up and efforts to bring forward the development of cross-border e-commerce and other new forms of business and increase imports and exports will better place us to meet the needs of upgraded consumption and overall development,” Premier Li stressed at the executive meeting.
The comprehensive cross-border e-commerce pilot zones set up in 13 cities including Hangzhou by the State Council in 2015 have since made notable progress, with cross-border e-commerce turnover doubling year-on-year for two years in a row. Some of their practices in customs clearance and logistics facilitation have been replicated nationwide and have helped boost entrepreneurship, innovation and industrial upgrading.
“Cross-border e-commerce has made rapid and notable achievements since the pilot zones were established and has become a new area of growth for imports and exports,” Premier Li said, “We should facilitate domestic consumption and at the same time improve export quality in the global market.”
It was decided at the meeting to expand cross-border e-commerce pilot zones to more areas with sound e-commerce facilities and big potential for foreign trade. Priority will be given to central and western regions and Northeast China.
New pilot zones will be established in 22 cities, including Beijing, Hohhot, Shenyang, Changchun, Harbin, Nanjing, Nanchang, Wuhan, Changsha, Nanning, Haikou, Guiyang, Kunming, Xi’an, Lanzhou, Xiamen, Tangshan, Wuxi, Weihai, Zhuhai, Dongguan and Yiwu.
Competent departments and municipal governments need to deepen reform in foreign trade by streamlining administration, delegating authority, improving regulation and strengthening services. Starting with cross-border e-commerce, they should further streamline approval and administrative procedures in logistics, storage and customs clearance to promote the liberalization and facilitation of international trade, stimulate the innovation of business forms and expand the import of more competitive foreign products.
The above measures should be tailored to local circumstances and bold steps should be taken to explore institutional innovations and supporting measures that will facilitate the development of cross-border e-commerce. Pioneering efforts are encouraged to introduce new management modes, technology standards and information sharing. Regulatory innovation will be advanced in an accommodating, prudent and effective way. E-commerce companies are encouraged to develop overseas warehouses and a global marketing network, cultivate their own brand names and diversify export markets to boost foreign trade upgrading and enhance economic competitiveness.
“Government departments should enact more effective policies and offer greater support in light of progress in actual implementation,” Premier Li added.