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China introduces measures to better facilitate cross-border trade and investment

China will introduce more measures to better facilitate cross-border trade and investment, including improving foreign exchange management and further streamlining regulatory requirements with a view to attracting foreign investors with a more enabling business environment.

The decision was adopted on Wednesday at the State Council's executive meeting, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang. Attendees at the Wednesday meeting agreed on 12 measures to boost cross-border trade and investment.

It was decided at the meeting that the pilot reform of foreign exchange receipts and payments facilitation will be expanded. Procedures of receipts and payments of relevant funds will be simplified for micro and small cross-border e-commerce companies.

The reporting processes on foreign exchange businesses for trade in goods will be improved. Enterprises will make their own decisions on whether or not to set up verification accounts.

Registration for the list of foreign exchange receipts and payments for trade will be facilitated for enterprises and their subsidiaries. Project contractors will be allowed to put their overseas funds under unified management.

"It is important to keep foreign trade and investment stable under the current situation by taking further steps in opening-up," Li said.

Foreign firms engaged in non-investment businesses will be allowed to make equity investments on the mainland with their capital funds. The pilot program that facilitates revenue payments under capital accounts will be expanded.

Registration for writing off companies' borrowings from foreign lenders will be delegated to banks. Pilot programs will be carried out where registration for each foreign borrowing is no longer required.

Limits on the number of foreign currency accounts under capital accounts will be removed, to facilitate foreign exchange settlement under certain capital accounts.

"Given the increasing complexity on global financial markets, it is important to guard against the risks in cross-border capital flows and maintain financial stability. The general principle is to maintain a macro-prudential policy while enhancing micro regulation," Li said.

Statistics from the State Administration of Foreign Exchanges on October 6 show that China's foreign exchange reserves stood at 3.0924 trillion U.S. dollars by the end of September, up by 0.6 percent from the beginning of this year.

"The renminbi exchange rate needs to be kept basically stable at an adaptive and equilibrium level, and foreign exchange reserves at a reasonable level. This is crucial for the overall stability of the macro economy. It is also a principle that we've long followed," Li said.

Measures on keeping foreign trade stable were adopted at the meeting. Policies on export tax rebate and credit-based insurance will be further improved.

More efforts will be made to develop a network of high-standard free trade areas, foster new forms of industry in foreign trade, and set up another group of comprehensive pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce.

Imports including agricultural products, daily consumer goods, equipment and parts will be increased to meet domestic demand. New zones will be developed to facilitate innovation in imports. The meeting also urged to host a fruitful China International Import Expo this year.

"China has a vast domestic market, yet is also deeply integrated into the global economy. There is much pressure on foreign trade. What is important now is that the many policies that have been introduced will be fully delivered, in an effort to achieve the goal we set early this year of ensuring the steady growth and raising the quality of foreign trade," Li said.

According to statistics released by the General Administration of Customs in October, China's foreign trade maintained steady performance in the first three quarters of this year. Imports and exports totaled 22.91 trillion yuan (about 3.24 U.S. dollars), up by 2.8 percent year-on-year. The number of foreign trade companies kept increasing. Another 141,000 got newly registered, up by 7.7 percent year-on-year.

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China introduces measures to better facilitate cross-border trade and investment

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