China rolls out measures to ensure stable foreign trade amid epidemic
13 Feb 2020


The relevant government departments in China have rolled out measures to boost both imports and exports amid the novel coronavirus epidemic.


Vice Minister of Commerce, Wang Bingnan, said most foreign trade enterprises in the country are resuming production capacity, adding that departments and local governments at all levels are implementing targeted policies to create a sound business environment and alleviate the burden on enterprises.


Ningbo in east China's Zhejiang province is a city well-known for its foreign trade. It has introduced 18 measures to help small and medium-sized enterprises, including foreign trade companies, during the epidemic. These measures include subsidizing foreign trade companies' exhibition stand fees if they cannot attend exhibitions due to the epidemic, further improving export tax rebate (exemption) policies, and providing better legal aid services for them.


Because of the epidemic's impact, some foreign trade companies in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong province, have been unable to deliver products to their foreign clients or fulfill their contracts. To deal with such problems, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) Shenzhen Committee offered the first batch of force majeure certificates for novel coronavirus to 11 enterprises in the city.


According to CCPIT, the certificates can help enterprises minimize liability for contracts that can't be fulfilled due to the epidemic and safeguard their legitimate rights and interests. Furthermore, the Council and its branches have offered such certificates to a large number of enterprises in Zhejiang province, northeast China's Liaoning province and other provinces.


Meanwhile, China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) has issued a notice to open up a green channel for imports of epidemic prevention materials.


According to a separate notice jointly released by the Ministry of Finance, the General Administration of Customs and State Taxation Administration, China has adopted more favorable import tax policies, including the exemption of import duties, to speed up the import of donated supplies used for epidemic control work.


In addition, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) released a notice to expand imports of medical supplies and raw materials, as well as meat products. According to the MOC, imported meat products will reach 640,000 tons in January, up 190 percent year on year.


Zhang Jianping, director of the Research Center for Regional Economic Cooperation under the MOC, said China’s foreign trade may decline to a certain extent due to the epidemic, but that will not be a long-term trend.


The World Health Organization spoke highly of China's epidemic prevention and control efforts and did not recommend overreactions such as trade and travel restrictions, Wang said.


China is confident in and capable of eventually winning the fight against the epidemic, and believes that governments and market players on the global supply chain will do more to facilitate both China's exports and imports, the vice minister added.


Source: People's Daily Online