"China is emphasizing the stabilizing of foreign trade and foreign investment — that's a positive signal being sent out by the country," Huang Maoxing, a deputy to the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) said in an interview with China.org.cn on May 24, 2020.
In the 2020 government work report, delivered at the opening meeting of the ongoing third session of the 13th NPC, Premier Li Keqiang said that China will "promote a higher-standard of opening up and stabilize the overall performance of foreign trade and foreign investment."
Huang Maoxing is dean of the School of Economics at Fujian Normal University and a deputy to the 13th NPC. He commented that the measures proposed in the report indicate that no matter what difficulties and challenges China faces, it will remain committed to opening the door wider to the world and boosting economic and trade cooperation with other countries to deliver mutual benefits.
The COVID-19 outbreak has presented China's foreign trade with severe and unprecedented challenges. According to data released by the General Administration of Customs (GAC), during the first four months of 2020, China's foreign trade volume, exports and imports declined by 4.9%, 6.4%, and 3.2% respectively.
"In order to curb the pandemic, countries around the world have adopted various travel restrictions, more stringent border checks, and tightened supervision on imports, leading to difficulties in exporting and disrupting supply chains. The COVID-19 outbreak has brought a lot of uncertainty to the international market, adversely affecting the overall development environment of China's foreign trade," Huang said.
A series of measures have been taken to stabilize the fundamentals of foreign trade and investment including increasing credit supply, accelerating the growth of cross-border e-commerce and other new business models, stepping-up the utilization of foreign capital, and opening new pilot free trade zones and comprehensive bonded zones.
"What impressed me most is that even during this current difficult time, the government work report is still proposing 'focusing on quality in the joint pursuit of the Belt and Road Initiative'," noted Huang.
"For one thing, it will help China expand its international market and thus promote foreign trade development. For another, it shows that as a responsible major country, China will contribute to the global economic rebound from the coronavirus through win-win cooperation with countries along the Belt and Road."
Huang suggested that China should accelerate the construction of pilot free trade zones and further shorten the negative list for foreign investment in order to foster a more open market environment and also promote liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment.
"By optimizing our business environment, we can attract multinational companies to actively invest in the major projects China is promoting, such as new infrastructure and new urbanization," Huang added.
Source: The China Internet Information Center
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