China is calling for more innovation to facilitate trade and investment and promote high-quality economic cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.
Innovations should be made in the ways people cooperate to foster new drivers of trade growth and further promoting trade in services and e-commerce, said Qian Keming, vice-minister of commerce, at a themed subforum on trade connectivity at the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on April 25.
Specifically, China will push forward cooperation in e-commerce with countries involved in the BRI, Qian said. “We will sign more memorandums of cooperation on e-commerce with willing countries and help different countries develop e-commerce and a digital economy.”
“Innovation is the endogenous source of high-quality development,” Qian said.
Since the BRI was proposed by China in 2013, it has become an important platform to facilitate trade and investment. Last year, the value of China’s trade in goods with the involved economies accounted for 27.4 percent of its total, up from 25 percent in 2013, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
To further facilitate trade connectivity under the initiative, innovations in custom management should be made by applying new technologies, Ni Yuefeng, head of the General Administration of Customs, said at the forum.
Ni called for the use of big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and other new technologies to build “smart customs” and strengthen the capacity of customs to serve trade.
Chan Chun Sing, Singapore’s minister for trade and industry, suggested exploring new areas of cooperation, such as data, technology and financial services, to help the initiative achieve more shared development.
Apart from innovations, Qian called for participating economies to further open up domestic markets, reduce barriers to trade and investment and negotiate free trade agreements with high standards.
As for China, the country will further ease market access, reduce tariff and nontariff barriers and speed up the creation of rules attached to the newly adopted Foreign Investment Law, Qian said.
Moreover, participating countries’ standards for customs, taxation, transportation and fund settlement should be aligned to accelerate cross-border flow, Qian said.
“Cooperation under the BRI involves a broad range of areas, in which participating economies have various policies and standards,” he said, adding that he suggests participating economies do a good job implementing the requirements of the Trade Facilitation Agreement of the World Trade Organization.
Wang Jun, commissioner of the State Taxation Administration, said at the forum that China will strengthen its efforts to coordinate taxation policies with participating economies.