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Policy & Politics

HOME > Policy & Politics

Highlights of China’s all-around opening-up in 2019

January 18, 2019

Abstract : The past 2018 has set a clear direction for China in 2019 as the country is gearing up for further opening-up in an all-round manner to put in place those measures and targets rolled out previously.

BEIJING, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- The past 2018 has set a clear direction for China in 2019 as the country is gearing up for further opening-up in an all-round manner to put in place those measures and targets rolled out previously.

What is your expectation for China’s opening-up policies and its efforts in this regard in 2019?

--- Import and export tariffs adjusted to stabilize foreign trade

An economic work conference convened by the Chinese central authorities at the end of 2018 proposed to expand import and export trade, promote diversification of export markets, and reduce institutional costs in the import links.

Shortly after the closing of the conference, the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council issued a notice to adjust the import and export tariffs on some commodities from January 1, 2019.

In term of the imports, since January 1, 2019, China has imposed the import provisional tax rate for 706 items including whisky, granite, baby and adult diapers, abolish the import provisional tax rate of thionyl chloride and lithium-ion battery cells for new energy vehicles, and continue to implement a lower import provisional tax rate for the advanced equipment and resource products that are needed for the country’s development, such as the aviation engines, welding robots in the automobile production lines, natural forage grass and natural uranium.

Meanwhile, from January 1, 2019, China has reduced the conventional tariff rates for New Zealand, Peru, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Iceland, the Republic of Korea, Australia, Georgia, and countries under the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA).

In terms of the exports, in order to promote the structural adjustment of the domestic energy resources industry, China decided not to impose export duties on 94 items including chemical fertilizers, apatite, iron ore, slag, coal tar, wood pulp, etc., from January 1, 2019.

Industry insiders believe that such adjustments are not only conducive to the effective use of the tariffs to take advantage of domestic and international markets and resources, but also helpful to coordinate the balanced development of relevant domestic industries.

--- Expansion of imported commodities via cross-border e-commerce

China has expanded and improved policies on retail imports via cross-border e-commerce to widen opening-up and unlock the potential of consumption from January 1, 2019.

Some 63 categories of products were added to the list of duty-free goods via cross-border e-commerce platforms, covering more high-demand consumer goods such as electronics, small home appliances, food and healthcare products.

From January 1, 2019, the annual quota on cross-border e-commerce purchases for individual buyers has risen to 26,000 yuan (about 3,741 U.S. dollars) from 20,000 yuan and the tax-free limits on single transactions have increased to 5,000 yuan from 2,000.

The adjustment of the above-mentioned policies has extended and improved the cross-border e-commerce retail import policies introduced in 2016 and is an important measure to expand the opening and stimulate the consumption potential, according to Feng Jinping, an official of the Ministry of Finance (MOF).

At the same time, in view of the rapid development of cross-border e-commerce, diversification of commodities, the ministry will work with other departments to adjust the list of imported goods via the cross-border e-commerce in due course, after considering development of cross-border e-commerce, consumer demand and regulatory conditions, Feng added.

--- Unified foreign investment law expected

China's top legislature in late December of 2018 published the full text of a draft foreign investment law to consult public opinion. The deadline for submitting opinions is February 24, 2019.

Once adopted, the unified foreign investment law will replace three existing laws, namely the laws on Chinese-foreign equity joint ventures, non-equity joint ventures (or contractual joint ventures) and wholly foreign-owned enterprises.

In order to actively promote foreign investment, the draft clearly states that foreign investment is subject to pre-entry national treatment plus negative list management system. The policies that the country supports development of the domestic enterprises are equally applicable to foreign-invested enterprises, and foreign-invested enterprises can participate in the standardization work and government procurement activities equally. Foreign-invested enterprises can raise funds through public stock offerings corporate bonds and other securities in accordance with the law.

In order to strengthen the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investment, the draft clearly states that the country protects the intellectual property rights of foreign investors and foreign-invested enterprises in accordance with the law, and encourages technical cooperation based on voluntary principles and business rules. No administrative means may be used to force transfer of technology.

--- Second Belt & Road Forum for International Cooperation

China is scheduled to hold the second Belt & Road Forum for International Cooperation in April, 2019, a big diplomatic event that can not be ignored.

The country held the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) in Beijing from May 14 to 15, 2017, with lots of consensuses reached.

A recent poll shows that the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation is one of the international events that the Chinese people surveyed are most interested in 2019.

Since the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative, China's "friend circle" has been expanding. In the past year, more than 50 countries and international organizations signed the Belt and Road cooperation documents with China, bringing the total number of signed documents to be more than 140.

At the same time, a batch of key cooperation projects under the Belt and Road have been comprehensively promoted, and third-party market cooperation under the Belt and Road framework has also been actively carried out.

Wang Yiwei, a professor at the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China, believes that the second forum is expected to strengthen the establishment of an internal dispute settlement mechanism among the Belt & Road countries and turn more bilateral intentions and regional consensus into tangible market, legal, safeguards and risk assessment mechanisms.

--- Second China International Import Expo

If you missed the First China International Import Expo (CIIE), the second CIIE is surely good enough to meet your demands and help you benefit a lot from China’s huge consumer market.

The exhibition area for the second CIIE will be expanded. In terms of the layout and scale, it will continue to include the Country Pavilion for Trade & Investment, the Enterprise and Business Exhibition and the Hongqiao International Trade Forum.

The exhibition area of the Country Pavilion will be 30,000 square meters. The situation in the trade and investment field including goods trade, service trade, industrial status, investment tourism and products with special characteristics of each country will be displayed in the area. The exhibition area of the Enterprise and Business Exhibition will increase according to the needs of exhibitors, and there will be seven exhibition areas covering five sections including equipment, consumption, food, health and service.

Sun Chenghai, deputy director of the China International Import Expo Bureau, said that the second CIIE will still include the main forum and several sub-forums. In terms of policy support, the bureau will prompt relevant departments to introduce new support policies and measures.

It is worth noting that more than 1,000 enterprises signed up for the second CIIE just more than a month after the closing of the first CIIE which was held in November 5-10, 2018. The bureau has already signed contracts with a group of most industrially representative enterprises, of which many participate in the first CIIE.

At the recent road show for the second CIIE in Panama, director of the Proinvex Panama Abad Goon introduced that the Panamanian exhibitors had a huge harvest at the first CIIE and achieved remarkable transactions worth more than 30 million US dollars.

He announced on the spot to double the exhibition area in the second CIIE, with the number of enterprises also double.

"We hope that through the pioneering cooperation platform of CIIE, we will establish an open, inclusive, cooperative and win-win economic and trade partnership between countries (regions) at a higher level and in a wider field, to promote the development of an open global economy and provide a strong impetus for economic globalization," said Sun. (Edited by Hu Pingchao, hupingchao@xinhua.org)

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