China’s foreign trade maintains trend of positive development: official

EYEAFRICATV: Beijing, China: China’s foreign trade enjoys great potential and competitiveness, and its overall trend of a positive development remains unchanged despite the ongoing global spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Li Xingqian, director of the foreign trade department of the Ministry of Commerce, made the statement on a daily press conference over the national epidemic prevention and control on Friday afternoon.

China’s foreign trade dropped by 9.6 percent year-on-year in the first two months of this year, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and the extended Spring Festival holiday, Li said.

However, the official pointed out that the number of newly confirmed cases on Thursday fell to eight in the Chinese mainland, which indicates the epidemic is primarily under control across the country, and many measures that China has adopted to further boost foreign trade will show effects.

“As the epidemic is ebbing in China, the Chinese government has adopted a ray of measures to stabilize foreign trade, and these measures are being implemented and gradually produce effects. According to our data, foreign trade companies are accelerating their pace of resuming business. Their honoring of contracts has been on the rise. In Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shanghai, as well as some other provinces and cities featuring foreign trade, all the flagship businesses have resumed operation,” said Li.

Foreign trade is faced with complicated challenges this year, and uncertainties have been on the rise, Li noted.

In the international context, as 120 countries have confirmed infections of the coronavirus, WHO believes that the COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.

Therefore, the global economy is faced with great downward pressure, and the international finance and energy markets have seen downward trending. In the meanwhile, the international demand seems to be full of uncertainties as well, Li told the press.

Nevertheless, “China’s foreign trade features great potential, flexibility, competitiveness, and stable supply and industrial chain. The ingenuity and innovation of the businesses have facilitated their market exploration. The overall trend of a positive development of China’s foreign trade remains unchanged,” the official said.

In order to help the foreign trade companies, Li said the ministry has rolled out three major policy measures to ease the financial pressures of the companies.

“The first is to lend more so that companies can receive more funding,” said the official.

Second, the government has decided to give more support to the SMEs, the micro companies in this regard, by coming up with temporary arrangements for the companies to postpone repayment.

“We have extended the maturity period so that companies can be relieved from the repayment pressure. The Ex-im Bank will also exempt the February loan interest for SMEs in Hubei Province and other heavily-hit regions, totaling about 600 million yuan. We will also open some fast channels to ensure that the funding can be in place quickly,” Li said.

Special and urgent issues should have to be handled specially and in an urgent manner, the official stressed.

“For the businesses that have been heavily hit by the epidemic or are in urgent need of loans, financial institutions should establish fast tracks for the reviewing and approval of the loans so that they can get funding as soon as possible,” he said.

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