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2015 Business Review XX: In 2015, Foreign Trade Was Stable and Made Progress, with Development Quality and Benefit Further Improved

In 2015, due to cumulated influences from depressed external demand, slow domestic demand, price declining, sustained and rapid rise in factor costs and other multiple factors, foreign trade situation of China was complex and severe and suffered from high downward pressure. The Party Central Committee and the State Council attached great importance to foreign trade and the State Council issued 7 policy documents successively to support the development of foreign trade. The MOFCOM spared no pains to carry out the decisions and deployment of the Party Central Committee and the State Council, vigorously promoted the policy implementation in conjunction with other departments and regions and with unprecedented strength, made every endeavor to stabilize growth, firmly adjusted structure, made great efforts to foster new competitive advantages of foreign trade, and issued a series of practical measures, which had achieved positive results.

In 2015, China's import and export were USD3.958644 trillion, down 8% on a year-on-year basis; in particular, export was USD2.276574 trillion, down 2.8%, and import was USD1.68207 trillion, down 14.1%. Under the general background of complex and severe international and domestic situation, the growth rate of China's export was higher than that of the global and other major economies; the foreign trade structure was adjusted with accelerated power transformation; with increased international market share, and improved quality and benefit, foreign trade made greater contribution to the national economy.

Firstly, international market share increased. It's anticipated that the international market share that China hold would rise to about 13.4% in 2015, 1% higher than that in 2014, 3% higher than that at the end of the period of "the 11th Five-year Plan", showing the fastest rise in international market share over five years.

Secondly, power transformation for foreign trade growth accelerated. Foreign trade enterprises continuously enhanced their capability of innovation and brand building. The export of ''Three Independent and Three High'' products assumed a growth trend, and the growth rate was higher than that of traditional products. The growth rate of export of railway locomotive, communication equipment, ships, aerospace equipment and other large complete equipment was more than 10%. Cross-border e-commerce, trade in market procurement and other new business models became new growth points of foreign trade, with growth rate of more than 30% and 70% respectively.

Thirdly, the adjustment to foreign trade structure produced positive achievements. The international market, domestic areas, operators, trade modes, and commodity structure were optimized in an all-round way. The export of developing countries and emerging markets accounted for 45.8%; the export of the mid-west regions accounted for 16.5%; the export proportion of private enterprises reached 45.2%, surpassing that of foreign-invested companies for the first time; general trade export proportion increased to 53.5%; mechanical and electrical products accounted for 57.6% of the foreign trade export, 5.1%, 7.8%, 14.7%, 7.8% and 2.1% higher than that at the end of the period of "the 11th Five-year Plan" respectively.

Fourthly, the quality and benefit of import improved. In 2015, import volume increased while price fell. The payment for 10 kinds of commodities including crude oil, iron ore, soybean, copper concentrate, and natural gas reduced by USD188 billion in total, equivalent to RMB1.2 trillion.

Fifthly, greater contribution was made to the national economy. Foreign trade had played an increasingly important role in expanding employment, increasing fiscal revenues, alleviating resource bottleneck, promoting industrial upgrade and other aspects, directly or indirectly producing about 180 million jobs, and creating 18% of the national tax revenue.

Overall, positive development trend of China's foreign trade basically remained unchanged. The foreign trade showed good performance, which was hard-earned. For this, in 2015, the MOFCOM mainly carried out the following work.

Firstly, timely promote the issuance of policies, and perfect the policy system to support the development of foreign trade. Since 2015, we successively pushed forward the issuance of the policy documents with regard to cultivating new competitive advantages of foreign trade, and promoting the development of cross-border e-commerce and the stable growth of import and export. These policy documents strengthened the traditional industry, and vigorously supported the development of new business forms, were aimed at the current urgent task of stabilizing growth, and gave consideration to the medium and long-term goals of transforming the mode and adjusting the structure. With strong power, practical measures, and high gold content, these policy documents produced favorable comments from local and general import and export enterprises, which generally believed that "the State gives unprecedented support for the development of foreign trade".

Secondly, establish and improve systems and mechanisms, and vigorously promote policy implementation. The MOFCOM refined and divided relevant documents into 126 key and specific tasks in a timely manner, set up a weekly report system for implementation of foreign trade policies with the participation of nearly 20 departments, and strengthened local regular report systems. The MOFCOM held four national conferences and took the lead in holding more than 50 department coordination meetings throughout the year. The MOFCOM took the lead in conducting special inspections on the local implementation situation of relevant policies and measures, and participated in the charge supervision and inspection on import and export links for 7 times, finding out the charge situation of 126 import and export links. In addition, the MOFCOM carried out more than 100 special investigations, and conducted questionnaire survey on 6,000 companies.

Thirdly, highlight the key point and devote major efforts to optimize the environment for development of foreign trade. Since 2015, the MOFCOM promoted the central finance to bear the incremental part of export tax rebates, which greatly aroused the enthusiasm of the local authorities. The progress of export tax rebates speeded up, and the time for examination and approval for tax rebates of first-class enterprises could be reduced to within 2 working days. The MOFCOM also promoted the decrease in the average export inspection ratio and exempted enterprises passing the inspection from hoisting, shifting, warehousing and other expenses. Besides, the MOFCOM sorted out and regulated the charges in import and export links nationwide, which reduced enterprises' burden of more than RMB20 billion in total.

Fourthly, perfect the management system for foreign trade, and promote structure optimization. We cultivated and identified demonstration areas of processing trade gradient transfer, and propelled processing trade's gradient transfer to the Mainland; further streamlined administration and delegated power to the lower levels; studied and cancelled 5 examination and approval items set by the central authorities and implemented by local authorities, and sorted out 16 intermediary services for administrative examination and approval in import and export links; revoked export quota management and export tariffs on rare earth, tungsten and molybdenum; continued to delegate the power of filing and registration of foreign trade operators to local authorities, increasing 350 new filing agencies in 2015; did a good job of registration of international bidding agencies for mechanical and electronic products, strengthened interim- and ex-post supervision, and promoted the construction of the credit system for the bidding agency industry.

Fifthly, vigorously support the development of new business models, and cultivate new growth points. The MOFCOM firmly advanced the China (Hangzhou) Cross-border E-commerce Comprehensive Pilot Area, explored and established "Six Systems and Two Platforms" in conjunction with relevant departments, and formulated 55 measures for policy innovation. Remarkable achievements were acquired in the pilot work related to the mode of Yiwu trade in market procurement, with 20 experience preliminary formed. The pilot work in Haimen and Haining was actively pushed forward. In addition, we researched and developed policy measures to further support the development of foreign trade comprehensive service enterprises, and selected some enterprises to implement related support policies on a trial basis.

Sixthly, adapt to the new requirements, and implement positive import policies. The MOFCOM, jointly with the relevant departments, reduced the import tariffs on part of daily consumer goods, and established new duty-free shops for entry to China through the ports. We also adjusted the Catalog of Technologies and Products Encouraged to Be Imported to support the import of advanced technical equipment, key parts and resources that China lacks. Besides, we supported the pilot work of car parallel import carried out in the four pilot free trade zones; drove the reform of the oil import system, gave crude oil import qualifications to conditional local oil refining enterprises, and actively expanded crude oil imports.

In 2016, the development of China's foreign trade is still faced with complicated and severe situation. In foreign trade work, it is imperative to thoroughly implement the decisions and deployment of the Party Central Committee and the State Council, stick to the overall work keynote of seeking improvement in stability, base at present while looking ahead to the future, speed up the adjustment to foreign trade structure, and power conversion, strive to promote the reform of the supply side of foreign trade, go all out to do a good job of foreign trade under the new normal, work hard to achieve work targets and tasks of steady growth, structural adjustment, power conversion, and quality improvement, propel the stable growth of foreign trade, and consolidate traditional advantages of foreign trade while accelerating the cultivation of new competitive advantages, enabling foreign trade to make greater contribution to the development of the national economy.

Translated by Wang Baihua
Proofread by Eddiea

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