China will take further steps to stabilize foreign trade and investment through expanded opening-up, and advance trials for innovative development of trade in services in an effort to take the country's opening-up to a higher level.

Such decisions were adopted at the State Council's executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday.

The Chinese government puts great emphasis on maintaining stability in foreign trade and investment. Premier Li specifically required introducing new measures for the steady progress of foreign trade and investment.

"The greatest uncertainty at the moment comes from the external environment, which directly affects foreign trade and investment," Li said, "As we work to advance the six priorities where stability is key and the six areas where protections are needed, we must be fully prepared to meet the new challenges that may come our way, especially in maintaining stability in the global production and supply chains, and in foreign trade and investment."

It was decided on Wednesday that support will be given to foreign trade businesses in strengthening resilience against risks.

A model of "credit insurance plus guarantee" is encouraged to increase business credit for foreign trade companies.

Central, western and northeastern provinces will be encouraged to tap into their strengths and host relocated labor-intensive industries in foreign trade. New forms of business such as cross-border e-commerce, overseas warehouses, and enterprises that provide comprehensive foreign trade services will receive more support, and trials of market purchase trade will be expanded, to facilitate exports of micro, small and medium-sized firms.

A more investment-friendly policy environment will be created. Key foreign investment projects will receive greater support indiscriminately in terms of land use. Accreditation of high-tech foreign-invested companies will be made easier.

Foreign-invested companies will be entitled to apply for special re-lending and re-discount quota and new loans from the Export-Import Bank of China the same way as their Chinese peers.

"We must ensure the full delivery of the relief policies already introduced. In view of acute challenges such as falling orders, effective measures will be rolled out to help businesses to explore new markets and find new opportunities. These policies should apply equally to all types of companies," Li said.

Since 2016, as approved by the State Council, there are 17 regions running trials for innovative development of trade in services, including Shanghai, Hainan Province, Beijing and Xiong'an New Area. The Wednesday meeting adopted further steps in this regard.

In keeping with regional development strategies, trials for innovative development of trade in services will be expanded to 21 provincial areas.

Additional reform measures will be considered to open up more sectors and improve facilitation, including developing cross-border commercial medical insurance, advancing Chinese-foreign cooperation in running schools, expanding the scope of qualified operators of technology import and export, and resuming international tourism and sports cooperation with COVID-19 containment protocols in place. All these measures will help take China's opening-up to a higher level.

"Trade in services can catalyze the upgrading of China's foreign trade sectors and spur high-quality development. The role of trade in services in stabilizing overall trade and investment must be fully harnessed," Li said.


Email: gaohan@nbd.com.cn

Editor: Gao Han