Business in border regions seen as critical to economic development
The newly-issued guideline by the General Office of the State Council on stabilizing trade growth has also touched on the importance of trade development in China's border regions, which experts said could lead to faster innovation that could help stabilize overall trade growth at a time of global uncertainty.
Specifically, the new guideline urges greater efforts in expanding foreign trade in border provinces. Pilot programs for import commodity processing in border regions will be promoted, and new measures will be put in place to explore the establishment of a data monitoring platform for goods in these areas.
In addition, regulations for trade deals among border regions will be introduced or revised, the guideline said.
During a fact-finding trip to the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and Yunnan province in late April, Chinese Premier Li Qiang called for stronger steps to be taken to bolster the growth of China's border regions to enable the people there to prosper.
Zhou Mi, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing, noted that border trade has long been a crucial sector in China's overall trade scheme. It's also a fulcrum for economic development in border provinces.
"Development of border trade also has positive and significant implications for the effectiveness of the Belt and Road Initiative. It will help strengthen trust between China and neighboring countries," he said. "This year, with the optimization of epidemic prevention and control policies, the room for border-trade growth will be significant."
He added that to boost border trade, policies need to be customized to suit different border regions.
Tu Xinquan, dean of the China Institute for World Trade Organization Studies at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said that trade is an important and effective way to build and strengthen relationships with neighboring countries.
"For China's relationships with countries in Southeast Asia such as Vietnam, for example, border trade has long made critical contributions to stabilizing overall ties," Tu noted.
He added that this year, as global dynamics shift, growth and market confidence are key to maintaining border trade volume.
Tu said that he holds an optimistic overall view of trade growth this year.
"Foreign trade growth will likely remain positive, and will be a positive factor in catalyzing overall national growth this year," he said.