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China takes steps to ensure stable foreign trade in wake of COVID-19 Release date: 2020-05-19

China is taking further steps to ensure stable foreign trade and investment, as international trade and the world economy are severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Commerce said on Monday.

Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said the ministry will take a number of key measures to further bolster foreign trade and investment and will make a big push to support companies to hedge against the viral impact.

"The globally-spreading coronavirus pandemic has caused a staggering drop in international market demand, and China faces unprecedented challenges in foreign trade this year," Zhong said at a news conference held in Beijing.

To cushion the coronavirus impact, the government is centered on resolving problems companies are facing during such an extremely hard time, including tight funding, falling orders and rising risks in industrial and supply chains.

Despite facing extreme difficulties, companies still see new growth opportunities ahead, Zhong added. While China's foreign trade volume declined 4.9 percent year on year in the first four months of this year, the country's trade with countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative posted robust growth. And Chinese exporters also saw their domestic sales jump 17 percent in April. 

The government will help companies seek new opportunities in emerging overseas markets, such as ASEAN countries, encourage exporters to sell products domestically and foster new business models like cross-border e-commerce to inject new impetus to foreign trade growth, Zhong said.

When it comes to foreign investment, Zhong said he believes that smart entrepreneurs will not give up the China market, as the country has abundant high-quality labor resources and strong industrial support ability, as well as a huge market with 1.4 billion consumers.

He added more efforts also are needed to open China wider to the outside world, to relax market access, to shorten the negative list and to further widen the services market access to foreign investors, to expand pilot free trade zones and to continue  improving the business environment in the country.