Chinese Commerce Minister Reveals Plans to Spur Consumption, Expand Foreign Trade and Opening in 2021

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The head China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said that driving consumption and further expanding the external opening of the Chinese economy will be key focal points for Beijing in 2021.

In an interview with state-owned media on 8 January Wang Wentao (王文涛) said that expansion of domestic demand is a “strategic key point” point for China, with regulators intent on “unleashing consumption potential and effectively employing the fundamental role of consumption with regard to economic growth.”

Wang said that “stabilising foreign trade and foreign investment” would be another key focal point for policy this year.

“In 2021 we will expedite the steady growth of foreign trade and foreign investment, strengthen the comprehensive competitiveness of foreign trade and investment, and shore up the industrial foundations for servicing domestic and international dual circulation,” said Wang.

With regard to stabilising foreign trade, Wang said that Beijing would focus on the implementation of three plans including:

  1. The quality entry and quality exit plan (优进优出计划). “Undertake upgrades to export quality, and cultivate new models for foreign trade.”
  2. The trade and industry integration plan (贸易产业融合计划). “Confirm a cohort of foreign trade upgrade bases, establish a cohort of processing trade industrial zones, and drive services trade innovation development trials.”
  3. The trade expediting plan (贸易畅通计划). “Establish trade expediting work teams with Belt and Road nations, expand the scope of overseas warehousing, strengthen the international sales system.”

With regard to the “stabilisation of foreign investment,” Wang called for “unwavering expansion of external opening, implementing new editions of the foreign investment negative list and encouraged foreign investment industry catalogue, driving increases in comprehensive trials for the expanded opening of the services sector, and innovative upgrades of state-level economic development zones.”

According to Wang China is currently host to 21 free trade pilot zones, while the foreign investment negative list has been reduced to just 30 items.

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