China will roll out new measures, including cutting customs clearance time, streamlining port services and improving the export tax rebate policy, to increase opening-up and facilitate the steady growth of foreign trade, the State Council’s executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on Sept 18.
As he addressed the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference in April, President Xi Jinping stated clearly that China would pursue further opening-up. Premier Li Keqiang also stressed the imperative for further opening-up while meeting the press earlier this year after the National People’s Congress.
“Growth of foreign trade directly bears on boosting economic growth and upgrading domestic consumption. It is important to further improve current policies regarding export tax rebates and financial services,” Premier Li said.
The meeting made the following decisions: First, to advance trade facilitation, this year will see further steps to shorten the overall time for both import and export customs clearance and reduce the number of documents required for customs clearance by another one-third. The cost of customs clearance will also be further cut. In principle, companies will be able to get the customs clearance documents processed online and go through verification at ports by November. Further progress will be made in one-time joint inspection by customs, border control and maritime safety authorities. The list of government administrative charges at ports will be released before the end of the year. No charges beyond the list should be collected.
Second, costs for import and export companies will be cut, and export rebate policies will be further improved. The frequency of inspections for exports will be lowered, and the coverage of export credit insurance will be expanded. Financial institutions will be encouraged to increase the use of credit loans under export credit insurance and the export tax rebate account pledged loan to scale up financing support for import and export companies, especially micro, small and medium-sized ones.
“By putting forward efforts in streamlining administration, delegating powers and improving services, the General Administration of Customs has played a positive role in promoting stable growth of imports and exports. Today’s new measures should be introduced in a timely way and implemented with concrete measures, so that tangible benefits will be delivered to businesses engaging in foreign trade,” Premier Li said.