Premier calls new business models of ‘vital importance’ amid world pandemic

China will set up 46 new integrated pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce, and will hold the Canton Fair online to keep foreign trade and investment broadly stable despite the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. The decisions were made at the State Council’s executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday.

“Tackling the economic impact of the outbreak abroad is a pressing task. With the tight containment measures introduced across countries, foreign trade and investment is persistently going downward,” Li said.

The meeting decided to set up the additional e-commerce zones on top of 59 existing ones. The zones, in combination with practices to boost commerce, will provide firms located there with supportive policies like exemption of value added and excise taxes on retail exports.

The zones’ host cities, where conditions allow, will be considered for inclusion in the pilot program on retail imports via cross-border e-commerce. Companies will be supported in the joint building and sharing of overseas warehouses.

“We must accelerate the development of cross-border e-commerce and other new models at a faster pace to promote the growth of foreign trade and investment. Competent departments must exercise sound quality supervision and ensure unimpeded logistics services,” Li said.

The meeting also stressed the need to coordinate domestic and foreign trade and help companies engaged in processing trade tackle difficulties.

“In a globalized world, countries all have a stake in each other’s future. The Chinese economy has been deeply integrated into the world economy. We must promptly analyze the outbreak’s impact on the industrial chains and work out our policy response accordingly. This is of vital importance to sustaining employment,” Li said.

The meeting decided to host the 127th China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair) online in mid-to late June given the global outbreak situation. Powered by advanced information technology, it will provide around-the-clock services for online product promotion and negotiations.

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