China working to stabilise foreign trade

BEIJING (China Daily/ANN) – China will further boost economic co-operation with Japan and South Korea, promoting investment.

China will spare no effort to stabilise foreign trade by increasing financial, insurance and fiscal support and strengthening co-operation with regional trade partners, especially Japan and South Korea, as the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic spreads worldwide, the Ministry of Commerce said last Thursday. Director-General of the ministry’s Department of Foreign Trade Li Xingqian, identified four priorities to stabilise foreign trade from the epidemic’s fallout.

First, the ministry will give more financial support to foreign companies, such as increasing credit availability to meet exporters’ financing needs, Li said at a news conference. Second, it will expand the coverage of short-term export-credit insurance, and work to decrease insurance rates within a reasonable range. The ministry also will improve policies related to export rebates to reduce enterprises’ costs while strengthening co-operation with major trading partners, Li said.

Apart from China, countries severely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak include South Korea and Japan, raising concerns about trade prospects in Asia and around the world. Li said the outbreak’s spread will bring pressure on the growth of the global economy and international trade, and will also have an effect on China. “China, Japan, and South Korea, the three biggest economies in East Asia, play an important role in regional and global economic growth, prosperity and stability,” Li said.

China will further boost economic and trade co-operation with the other two countries, giving full play to industrial complementarities and promoting trade and investment between the nations, he said.

China will work with Japan and South Korea to jointly promote the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RECP) agreement as scheduled, and speed up negotiations for the China-Japan-South Korea free trade agreement, Li added.

A group of 15 Asia-Pacific countries are expected to sign the RCEP in 2020. RCEP would be the world’s largest trade agreement.

Since the outbreak, the ministry has rolled out a series of measures to stabilise the supply chain and industrial chain related to international trade. It has helped foreign enterprises, including Japanese and South Korean companies, to surmount difficulties in resuming work and production.

Li forecast greater potential for trade co-operation between China, Japan and South Korea once the contagion is controlled.