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Ministry plans slew of tax, fiscal measures to boost border trade

China Daily| Updated: Dec 6, 2019

China has decided to adopt a slew of measures, including tax and fiscal policies, to enhance the innovation and development of border trade, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Implementation of the measures aims to give full play to the role of border trade in stabilizing foreign trade and to ensure that border trade achieves actual results like facilitating employment, improving local people's livelihood, poverty alleviation, enhancing bilateral relations and furthering domestic ethnic unity, the ministry said on its website on Dec 4.

The measures include value-added tax exemption policy and simplified declaration process for small-scale border trade exports at pilot areas, and properly increasing amounts of local government bonds in border areas, to support infrastructure construction in border (cross-border) economic cooperation zones and key development and opening-up pilot zones.

Construction land permissions will be granted to border (cross-border) economic cooperation zones on a priority basis, and the authorities will also encourage development of "internet plus border trade", to reduce transaction costs, broaden border trade channels, and expand border trade scale, as well as the establishment of e-commerce platforms at border regions to promote new businesses and models for border trade.

Border marketplaces will be encouraged to improve their functions for commodities display, marketing, wholesale, retail, and distribution, and clusters of trade centers that respectively trade on special products from neighboring countries and products with Chinese characteristics will be cultivated, based on existing key border trade commodities marketplaces.

Besides, the law on the administration of barter trade between border residents will be revised, to clarify barter trade scope, forms, transaction subjects, place and modes, and supervision method, and a negative list on imports of barter trade will be published.

Zhou Mi, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said border trade plays an important role in sustaining good trade relations between China and neighboring economies, and the Chinese authorities' new move reflects an intention to update the administration and support mechanisms to adjust to new circumstances to facilitate healthy development of border trade.

"The new measures and policies have given full consideration to development of new technologies and business models, as well as the continuously growing border trade scale between China and neighboring economies, under the Belt and Road Initiative," he said.

Border trade is crucial for bilateral economic and trade exchange to achieve a win-win situation, although China's border trade is not as strong as maritime trade, because border trade often relies on surface trade while China's border areas with other countries are often tremendously rugged with mountains, he said.

The new policies and measures are set to enhance development of border trade, as they are made on the basis of clusters of research and studies in border areas, and deep communications among related government departments, he said.

He spoke especially highly of the introduction of a negative list on barter trade imports, the special permission arrangement on land used for border (cross-border) economic cooperation zones, and the consideration of internet-based business channels and models.

He also suggested the development of border trade should be coordinated with inland markets, so that border trade will become a bridge connecting foreign markets with inland markets.