Domestic News

Multiple measures to maintain stable trade growth


CHINA will take a string of measures to maintain stable trade growth in 2019, Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said Saturday.

The commerce ministry will implement a raft of trade facilitation policies and measures in export credit insurance, financing and others to reduce burdens and improve efficiency for foreign trade companies, Zhong told a press conference on the sidelines of the annual legislative session.

Efforts will also be stepped up in improving the business environment to shore up enterprises’ confidence, Zhong added.

China will promote international cooperation via the Belt and Road Initiative, and explore emerging trade markets while building on traditional ones, he said.

“Generally speaking, China’s trade is huge in scale, but not competitive enough,” Zhong said, adding that the ministry will encourage exports of high-tech, high-quality and high-value-added products.

Imports will be expanded in scale and optimized in structure to meet domestic demands, according to him.

The ministry will support enterprises’ innovation in technologies, systems and management to boost market competitiveness, and encourage development of new trade businesses and models, Zhong added.

When it comes to the country’s consumption structure, Zhong told the media that the structure has kept improving as consumption contributes more to economic growth.

Consumption of services grew faster than that of goods, with its share rising to 49.5 percent last year, a sign of improved consumption structure, said Zhong.

The quality of consumption has also become better with personalized, diversified and customized consumption burgeoning, he said.

Despite a narrowed growth rate in China’s total retail sales last year, the increment amounted to 3.2 trillion yuan (US$476 billion), equivalent to the annual retail sales in 1998, Zhong said.

Zhong also said the country will expand opening up in fields such as international shipping, tourism and professional services in Hainan as the southern Chinese island is building a pilot free trade zone (FTZ).

The government will support accelerated growth of sectors like medical and health services and international exhibitions to attract more innovative players, according to Zhong.

Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen also addressed the briefing and said he sees “hope” in the prospect of China-U.S. economic and trade consultations.

“Teams from both countries are trying their best to implement the consensus reached by the two countries’ heads of state,” Wang said.

The two teams have had three rounds of consultations over more than three months, he said.

Reaching a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement conforms to the interests of both countries and the world’s expectation, Wang said.?