Business / Economy

Measures target economic growth

By Li Jiabao (China Daily) Updated: 2012-09-13 02:26

The State Council on Wednesday announced a series of measures to stabilize foreign trade growth following lackluster trade figures in recent months, in the government's latest move to boost economic growth amid the global economic turmoil.

"First, we will speed up tax rebates for exporters and make sure that they get the rebates accurately and promptly," the State Council said in a statement released after an executive meeting presided by Premier Wen Jiabao.

The government will also expand the range of export credit insurance and reduce financing costs, while urging commercial banks to enhance trade financing for small and micro-sized companies, and increase credit to qualified exporters, the statement said.

Export-related insurance companies are being told to widen service coverage, and especially to provide services to small and micro-sized exporters. Short-term services to small and medium-sized businesses are also being encouraged to help them tap overseas markets, it said.

Administrative procedures, such as inspections and quarantines, will be simplified and the related costs will be lowered from next year in order to improve efficiency and lower costs during customs clearance.

The government said it will also properly defend exporters against trade frictions, while launching trade remedy investigations to protect domestic industries. Companies are being urged to make full use of regional and sub-regional cooperation mechanisms and effective free trade agreements.

China will also expand imports, particularly those of advanced-technology equipment, key components and consumer goods, to support the technological upgrade process of companies and strengthen balanced trade.

The government will support companies wishing to explore emerging markets — including those in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia — to optimize their trade structures, while enlarging the opening-up of central and western regions as well as boosting border trade, in a move aimed at optimizing the country's regional structures for foreign trade.

Government data showed that the total foreign trade of the world's largest exporter and second-largest economy increased 6.2 percent from a year earlier to $2.5 trillion in the first eight months of the year, far below the 10 percent full-year target set at the beginning of the year. Imports declined 2.6 percent year-on-year in August, raising concerns about sharply weakening domestic demand, while exports slightly expanded 2.7 percent year-on-year.

China's economic growth eased to 7.6 percent in the second quarter, the slowest pace in over three years, as demand at home and abroad slackened.

"The measures cover taxation and fiscal support for exporters and the optimization of regional structures at home and market structures abroad, and thus are very comprehensive," said Wang Jun, a researcher with the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

"The government's move came promptly to secure the 10 percent full-year trade growth target. The measures will have a significant impact on trade in the second half as well as in the coming years."

"Stabilizing economic growth requires the enhanced contribution of overseas demand. And we must have the confidence to enlarge trade markets to provide a new boost for China's economic growth in the next 20 years," Wang said.

"Emerging markets will be a major driver for the country's trade growth, while the central and western regions will be the new powerhouses as companies there are well equipped to tap overseas markets," he said.

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