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September 21, 2017

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China plans more e-commerce zones

CHINA will set up more cross-border e-commerce pilot zones in favor of trade facilitation to boost China’s global competitiveness, according to a decision made at a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang yesterday.

The meeting decided to extend the success of cross-border e-commerce pilot zones to more cities with good infrastructure, strong trade and e-commerce development potential.

The original initiative was set in motion by the State Council in Hangzhou in 2015 before being expanded to another 12 cities, including Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing, from early 2016.

Some good practices are going national, such as the development of online comprehensive service platforms incorporating customs clearance, logistics, tax refunds, payments, fundraising and risk control services and offline industrial parks providing whole-industrial-chain services.

“We need to enable the healthy development of cross-border e-commerce and speed up the growth of new engines, making the foreign trade sector more adaptive to new circumstances and better endowed with new cutting edges,” Li said. “The prospect of cross-border e-commerce is very bright.”

Ministry of Commerce statistics show that 220 countries and regions across the world were covered by China’s cross-border e-commerce network as of 2016, with a turnover of 5.85 trillion yuan (US$890 billion), up by 28.2 percent year on year.

The total volume of foreign trade via cross-border e-commerce in the 13 pilot zones reached 163.7 billion yuan in 2016, up by more than 100 percent year on year. More than 400 third-party platforms and 20,000 cross-border e-commerce trade companies were established.

The government will further streamline administration, enhance compliance oversight and improve service to boost efficiency and reduce costs.

Developing the value-chain of e-commerce will be support measures that include establishing overseas storage facilities covering key countries and markets and logistics networks.

“We need to expand and clone good experience and practices accumulated, and lay down the rules in a timely manner. The new growth drivers’ capacity to boost employment, extend the industry chain and buttress growth cannot be overestimated,” Li said.

The meeting also decided to support exploration and innovation efforts by pilot zones. Different online platforms will be integrated to better provide one-stop services to share information, regulatory credentials and enforcement resources.

Parallel efforts will be made to match online platforms with robust offline industrial cluster development and comprehensive service provision.

The government will also step up development of the credit system in the cross-border e-commerce sector and improve mechanisms to evaluate e-commerce sector, safeguard transactions, better protect consumers and IPR, and manage risks.

“Government oversight should be both enabling and prudent,” Li said.


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