The Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has flagged greater support for the further integration of China with the global economy in 2023, in the wake of downward pressure created by the Covid pandemic and heightened geopolitical tensions.
MOFCOM says foreign trade and overseas expansion a priority
“Entering 2023, the global economic and trade situation has become extremely severe, and downward pressure has increased significantly,” said Li Xingqian (李兴乾), director of the Foreign Trade Department of MOFCOM, at a press conference held on 2 February.
“The main challenge for Chinese foreign trade has shifted from blocked supply chains and insufficient contract fulfilment capabilities last year, to the current weakening of external demand and declining orders. This is an important change.”
In order to deal with this situation, MOFCOM said that it will “give priority to strengthening trade promotion, make the matching of supply and procurement the first priority, and fully support foreign trade companies in seizing orders and expanding markets.”
“It is necessary to strengthen the connections between suppliers and buyers, fully resume offline domestic export exhibitions such as the Canton Fair; promote the further development of new formats such as cross-border e-commerce and overseas warehouses, and drive the exports of small, medium and micro foreign trade enterprises,” Li said.
MOFCOM said it will also support Chinese enterprises in expanding abroad, providing greater convenience the cross-border transactions of foreign trade enterprises, and supporting the promotion by enterprises of Chinese products, Chinese manufacturing, and Chinese brands in by a variety of means.
MOFCOM calls for attracting more foreign investment
MOFCOM officials expressed optimism about the ability of China to lift foreign investment level following the cancellation of Covid-related restrictions.
“Currently, as the epidemic prevention and control enters a new stage, and cross-border exchanges are gradually becoming normalised,” said Meng Huating (孟华婷), head of MOFCOM’s Foreign Investment Management Department
“Recently, many local governments have gone abroad to carry out investment promotion activities, and I believe that more foreign-funded projects will land in China this year.”
With regard to foreign investment policy, MOFCOM said that it will promote reasonable reductions to the negative list for foreign investment access and increase the opening up of China’s services service sector.
MOFCOM will also make greater use of key economic and trade exhibitions and various investment promotion mechanisms, support a combination of “going out” and “inviting in” in various places to carry out investment promotion activities, and promote the development of more landmark projects using foreign capital.
In 2023, MOFCOM issued a new version of the “Catalogue of Industries for Encouraging Foreign Investment” (鼓励外商投资产业目), and introduced a series of special policies to promote investment in manufacturing and encourage the development of foreign-invested R&D centers.
Meng Huating said that in 2023, MOFCOM will “make every effort to promote the implementation of these policies, and will introduce another batch of policy measures based on the arrangements of the central government.”
“The overlap of existing policies and additional policies will bring a greater sense of gain to foreign-invested enterprises,” he said.