As foreign trade is an important part of China's open economy and a driving power for national economic development, the State Council issued a circular on Nov 9 to promote its innovative development.
According to the circular, innovative development of foreign trade should be achieved complying with supply-side structural reform, and more efforts in technological, systematic and model innovation.
To achieve the goal, a "dual circulation" development pattern should be followed, in which the domestic economic cycle plays a leading role while the international economic cycle remains its extension and supplement, to optimize layouts for international and domestic markets, business entities, commodity structure and modes of trade. Meanwhile, the construction of foreign trade transformation and upgrade bases, trade promotion platforms and international marketing systems also will be boosted, cultivating new advantages in international cooperation and competition under new trends.
To optimize international market layout, China will uphold the multilateral trade system with the World Trade Organization at the core, participate in formulating international trade rules and facilitate the early conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
Documents already signed for the Belt and Road Initiative should be implemented by building up a sound work mechanism to facilitate trade and solve major problems in bilateral trade.
New technologies, such as 5G, virtual reality, augmented reality and big data, are encouraged in expanding the overseas market by holding online exhibitions and establishing e-commerce platforms.
Public service levels also will be improved by enhancing publicity to key markets, publishing policies and market information in a timely manner and establishing legal aid platforms for cross-border trade and investment.
To optimize domestic layout, high-quality development of trade in eastern China should be elevated. Xiongan New Area should be constructed in line with a high international standard of trade rules as a pioneer in opening-up, and the coordinated development of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei will be pushed forward. The opening-up of the Yangtze Delta should be elevated to a higher level in the process of regional integration.
The middle and western parts of China will be supported to participate in building the Belt and Road, and to construct an efficient and low-cost international trade channel with first-class services in the inland area.
Northeast China will be encouraged to develop trade of resource-type bulk commodities and leverage its manufacturing foundations to undertake the exports of complete sets of large equipment.
Based on national-level new districts and demonstration areas receiving relocated industries, a regional cooperative mechanism should be set up to facilitate industrial relocation, and platforms such as the China Processing Trade Products Fair should play a bigger role in improving long-term cooperation among the processing industries in East, Central and West China.
A batch of leading enterprises with strong innovative capabilities and international competitiveness should be fostered in fields, including communication, electricity, engineering machinery, and rail traffic. Meanwhile, small and medium enterprises with excellent performance in manufacturing components, basic parts, instruments, moulds, clothing, shoes and hats should be encouraged to go abroad.
An import and export alliance should be formed in which leading enterprises could help smaller ones further integrate into the supply chain.
The production activities and export of enterprises and commodities that are essential to the global supply chain should be safeguarded, the circular said. Industrial chain and supply chain in major markets should be expanded by promoting the interconnectivity of logistics, capital flow, and information stream. Digital development and smart technology should be further applied to improve the supply chain. A comprehensive support platform should be established to deal with emergencies.
A new round of technical transformation and upgrading should start with a batch of pilot programs for breeding clusters of advanced manufacturing industry. Efforts should be spent to build more strategic emerging industry clusters. A batch of agricultural trade bases for quality development also should be built.
To improve the export structure, enterprises will be encouraged to open up the international market with large-size, complete sets of equipment in many fields, including electricity, rail traffic, communication device, shipping and marine engineering, and aerospace. Strengths in emerging industries, such as biotech, new energy and robots, should be enhanced. Labor-intensive industries should embark on the path of high-end and refinement-oriented development. Also, the export of high value-added agricultural products with unique features should be expanded.
According to the circular, related departments should strengthen quality management and supervision in export. Enterprises should be encouraged to carry out production and inspection in accordance with international standards.
Import structure also will be optimized with an increasing proportion of advanced technologies, important equipment, and key components. More imports of qualified consumer goods, knowledge and technology intensive services, and tourism products should be welcomed.
General trade should be boosted. Enterprises are encouraged to invest more in R&D and brand cultivating, and at the same time get more skilled in business negotiation and bargaining. For processing trade, local authorities should increase their support for pilot zones and cities for their innovative development through transformation and upgrading.
According to the circular, border trade should be further developed by opening more markets and business centers. E-commerce and other new-type trade forms in the border regions should be supported.
The market circulation environment should be improved to help enterprises make a good use of both domestic and foreign markets and lower the cost for export-oriented products’ domestic sales. Export enterprises should be encouraged to cooperate with sizable domestic circulation enterprises to build various platforms for domestic sales.
It also noted that construction of bases for transformation and upgrading of national foreign trade should be sped up. Various industrial agglomerations should serve to build the bases and contribute to strengthening the leading industry chains and improving the supporting industry chains.
Public service platforms in research and development, detection, marketing, information and logistics should be established with joint efforts from research institutes, universities and colleges, trade promotion organizations, industry associations, professional service providers and leading enterprises, the circular said.
Comprehensive exhibitions, such as the China International Import Expo and the Canton Fair should be improved. The CIIE should be enriched to be more international and professional, while new methods, such as integrating online and offline exhibitions, should be explored and promoted. Import trade promotion innovation demonstration areas should be cultivated to play a leading and exemplary role in promoting import, service industry and consumption upgrades.
The circular also pointed out that efforts to build an international marketing system should be intensified. Enterprises are encouraged to actively improve their marketing and customer service guarantee system, with a focus on automobile and machine tool brand enterprises’ construction of international marketing service stands.
New business forms, such as cross-border e-commerce, should be further boosted, the circular said. More efforts should be channeled into the construction of comprehensive pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce and B2B businesses should be improved with an expanded application of such new business forms.
Second-hand car exports should be actively promoted with an improved export management and promotion system. The quality standards should be further improved, and the export quality test standards should be unified across the country. After-sale service in the overseas market of second-hand cars should be improved, and qualified enterprises are encouraged to build spare parts storage in major overseas markets.
The development of international cultural trade should be accelerated, with increasing support for key enterprises and projects for exporting domestic culture, according to the circular. The construction of national culture export bases should be further strengthened, and it is necessary to speed up the transformation and upgrading of service outsourcing. Service export of Traditional Chinese Medicine also will be expanded.
According to the circular, more efforts should be made to develop digital trade and build national export bases for digital service. Enterprises will be encouraged to transform into digital service and integrated service providers. Also, they will be supported to continuously improve their management capabilities in digital and intelligent trade. It also suggested building a public service platform for digital trade to serve enterprises in digital transformation.
The country should give full play to the role of free trade pilot zones and free trade ports in institutional innovation, the circular said. Efforts should be made to expand opening-up areas and promote export-oriented economic entities and businesses to gather in the free trade pilot zones. Push for the Hainan Free Trade Port Law and introduce the negative list of cross-border service trade in Hainan Free Trade Port to further regulate domestic rules concerning the liberalization and facilitation of service trade.
Trade facilitation should be continuously improved. The customs clearance process should be further simplified with less certificates and proof materials required. An innovative customs inspection model should be developed to implement the reform of online inspection.
Import and export management and services should be optimized, especially those of bulk commodities. Management on the import and export of key commodities should be reformed in an orderly manner.
Fee reductions and merging in ports should be further implemented. The paperless declaration scope of export rebates should be expanded, and its progress should be sped up. More pilot programs facilitating trade and foreign exchange balance should be implemented to make cross-border e-commerce foreign exchange settlement more convenient.
Financial support should be increased following the principles of the World Trade Organization. The special funds for foreign trade should take full advantage to promote a stable and innovative high-quality development in foreign trade. Supporting policies, such as re-lending and rediscount, should be further implemented, and loans should be delivered in a timely manner. Financial institutions should be guided to increase foreign trade credit supply, while ensuring effective implementation of policies, such as periodic delayed repayment of capital and interest for loans, to better support micro, small and medium foreign trade enterprises.
International shipping and air cargo capacities should be enhanced, and international road freight should be further facilitated. Capacity of freight channels, such as China-Europe freight trains, should be improved, the circular said. Port and shipping companies are encouraged to strengthen cooperation with railway companies to vigorously develop multimodal container transport connecting both railways and waterways.
According to the circular, security is crucial for development, and efforts should be made to prevent major risks. Security of food, energy and natural resources must be ensured, and efforts should be made to build a modernized export control system.