New Chinese policy measures aim to stabilize shaky foreign trade situation
The Chinese central government has introduced policy measures to stabilize foreign trade and help importers and exporters overcome difficulties as part of broader efforts to keep the economy and industrial and supply chains on an even keel.
A policy document published on Thursday by the General Office of the State Council laid out 13 measures, including steps to guarantee the stability of production and logistics for businesses in the foreign trade sector and ensure the unimpeded flow of cargo at ports.
The measures came as China's exports dropped to their lowest level in almost two years in April, growing 1.9 percent year-on-year to 1.74 trillion yuan ($261 billion) but down from a growth rate of 12.9 percent in March. Meanwhile, April imports dropped 2 percent to 1.41 trillion yuan, according to the General Administration of Customs.
Shen Jianguang, chief economist at Chinese e-commerce giant JD, said China's foreign trade sector is facing mounting challenges, including declining overseas demand, worsening trade conditions, supply shocks caused by the pandemic and competition from other economies.
"Despite the mounting risks, there is still strong resilience in the fundamentals of China's foreign trade sector," he said.
He highlighted the need to roll out more detailed policy measures to stabilize the production and operations of foreign traders, help them protect orders and markets and ensure unimpeded international logistics.
Shen said that with recent outbreaks in Shanghai and Beijing waning, the document's timing is appropriate.
"If measures can be put in place during this window of opportunity, there is still a chance that China's exports can maintain growth and serve to underpin efforts to reach national economic goals this year," he said.
The document pledged to scale up fiscal and credit support for foreign traders. For example, it encouraged cross-border e-commerce companies to take full advantage of export tax refund policies.
To help businesses better navigate risks in the Forex market, the government will continue to make it easier to settle overseas trade with the yuan and encourage banks to introduce innovative products and services to offer comprehensive financial services to foreign traders.
To support those overseas looking to buy Chinese vehicles, eligible Chinese banks will be encouraged to provide financing in accordance with relevant laws and regulations.
The document also pledged to accelerate the digital transformation of the China Import and Export Fair and other exhibitions by actively using virtual reality, augmented reality and big data to enhance connectivity with cross-border e-commerce platforms.