Policies refined to boost cross-border e-commerce

Date Nov 22 2018 13:47:32 Source:Xinhua

China will expand and improve the existing policies on retail imports via cross-border e-commerce to widen opening-up and unlock the potential of consumption, the State Council's executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on Wednesday.

The Chinese government places high importance on developing cross-border e-commerce and other new forms of trade. Premier Li underlined the need to promote new forms of industry including cross-border e-commerce and adopt a new approach of prudent, accommodative and effective regulation in the government work reports in four consecutive years.

Figures from the General Administration of Customs show that between January and October 2018, retail imports of cross-border e-commerce reached 67.2 billion yuan (about 9.7 billion U.S. dollars), up 53.7 percent year-on-year.

"Boosting cross-border e-commerce will contribute to high-level opening-up. It will promote steady growth of foreign trade, drive consumption and create jobs," Li said. "We need to take a holistic approach, exercise prudent yet accommodative regulation to fully unleash the growth potential of cross-border e-commerce."

The Wednesday meeting decided that starting from next January, the current policies on cross-border e-commerce retail imports will continue. No requirements of licensing, registration or record-filing for first-time imports shall apply to the retail imports through cross-border e-commerce platforms. Instead, these goods will receive more relaxed regulation as imports for personal use.

Moreover, implementation of this policy will be extended from the 15 cities such as Hangzhou to another 22 cities such as Beijing which have just established comprehensive cross-border e-commerce pilot zones.

Goods included in the cross-border e-commerce retail imports list have so far enjoyed zero tariffs within a set quota and had their import VAT and consumer tax collected at 70 percent of the statutory taxable amount. Such preferential policies will be extended to another 63 tax categories of high-demand goods.

The quota of goods eligible for these preferential policies will be raised from 2,000 yuan to 5,000 yuan per transaction and from 20,000 yuan to 26,000 yuan per head per year. This quota will be further adjusted as needed in light of increases in people's income.

At the same time, export tax rebate policies will be further improved in line with international practices to further boost exports via cross-border e-commerce.

"For a large importing and exporting nation as China, it is imperative to further open up, pursue greater diversity in the import and export mix, and vigorously attract foreign investment to promote balanced international payments and steady economic development," Li said.

Cross-border e-commerce businesses, online platforms and payment and logistics service providers must fully discharge their responsibilities required by law, the meeting urged. Product quality and safety inspection and risk prevention and control should be strengthened for fair competition in the marketplace and better protection of the consumer rights and interests.

China's central bank skips open market operations for 20 days

Date Nov 22 2018 13:26:27 Source:Xinhua

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) suspended open market operations on Thursday, citing abundant liquidity in the financial system.

It is the 20th consecutive working day for the central bank to skip open market operations, a record long time span since early 2016 when the central bank announced added frequency of open market operations.

No reverse repo will mature on Thursday.

A reverse repo is a process by which the central bank purchases securities from commercial banks through bidding, with an agreement to sell them back in the future.

The central bank will maintain a prudent and neutral monetary policy, with easing or tightening only as appropriate, and make the financial sector better serve the real economy, according to a report published by the bank in early November.

Targeted RRR cut expected to fuel real economy

Date Nov 22 2018 09:34:49 Source:SHMET

The targeted reserve requirement ratio is expected to be cut by one percentage point in January to fuel the real economy, with domestic liquidity maintaining a relatively balanced status in the near future, China Securities Journal reported on Monday.

This year, the central bank is likely to announce a targeted RRR cut for the beginning of next year, which can effectively guide financial institutions to invest money in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, private companies and innovative players in Q4, so as to meet the criteria of a targeted RRR cut, said Pan Xiangdong, chief economist with New Times Securities.

In terms of quantity, enterprises are meeting challenges in financing and increasing economic downward pressure, so the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, may continue to maintain domestic liquidity at a "reasonably ample level" through various measures.

Pan said cutting the reserve requirement ratio has a great significance for monetary easing. The central bank may use tools including re-lending, rediscount, pledged supplementary lending, medium-term lending facility and open market operations this year and cut the reserve requirement ratio by one percentage point early next year.

In early October, the central bank announced an RRR cut for commercial banks by 1 percentage point, effective Oct 15, which has freed up 750 billion yuan ($108 billion) in liquidity, the report said.

The country's central bank also injected 403.5 billion yuan into the market via the medium-term lending facility to maintain liquidity on Nov 5.

At present, liquidity in China's monetary market is relatively ample, with interbank lending rates down significantly this year. Domestic liquidity is expected to maintain a relatively balanced level in the near future, said Zhang Ming, chief economist with Ping An Securities.

To further enhance the financial sector's ability and will to serve the real economy, policy coordination should be strengthened, monetary policy transmission channels should be unblocked and monetary policy tools and mechanisms should be innovated, the report said citing several experts' opinions.

The central bank reiterated the importance of the financial sector in serving the real economy at an insider PBOC meeting on Friday presided over by central governor Yi Gang, who asked relevant departments to properly implement the monetary and credit policy in a precise manner.

In the first 10 months, new yuan loans increased by 2.02 trillion yuan from the same period last year and growth was registered for the incremental value and growth rate of credit to small and micro-sized businesses in the same period, according to statistics from PBOC website.

Hong Kong hosts meeting on development of logistics, maritime industries

Date Nov 21 2018 09:44:42 Source:Xinhua

The 8th Asian Logistics and Maritime Conference opened here Tuesday, attracting more than 2,100 people, including experts and practitioners, to attend and exchange views on the latest development of the logistics and maritime industries.

The two-day conference, jointly organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government, aims to provide a platform for learning, sharing and exchanges among some of the biggest players in the industry, and help chart a path forward. It also highlights Hong Kong's role as the region's logistics and maritime hub.

Chief Executive of the HKSAR Carrie Lam said that trading and logistics is one of Hong Kong's four pillar industries, contributing 22 percent of Hong Kong's GDP and accounts for some 19 percent of Hong Kong's total employment.

She said a new logistics center will be built at the Hong Kong International Airport, allowing Hong Kong to capture the opportunities presented by the fast-emerging retail revolution. The center, relying on robotics and automation, will be able to process 1.7 million tons of cargo a year when it opens in 2023.

When delivering his keynote speech, Lim Jock Hoi, secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), gave comprehensive insights into the latest developments and opportunities for the logistics industry in ASEAN countries.

He said ASEAN is the the world's 6th largest economy and is becoming an increasingly important trading center. ASEAN's logistic and transport systems are becoming more horizontally and vertically integrated, and the Hong Kong SAR and ASEAN are strategic trade partners.

China adds strength to digital economy in Asia Pacific

Date Nov 21 2018 09:40:10 Source:Xinhua

Digital innovations are reshaping the economy in the Asia Pacific, with China at the forefront and providing strong momentum for the transformation.

Building a digital future topped the agenda of the 26th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting, which concluded at Papua New Guinea's capital of Port Moresby on Sunday.

Asian economies are moving faster than their global peers in digitalization and have benefited from the shift.

Asia is home to seven of the world's top 10 economies in terms of the share of information and communications technology sector in GDP, according to a report released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last month.

Over the past two decades, digital innovation accounted for nearly one-third of Asia's per capita GDP growth, the report showed.

"Digitalization can be a new source of growth for Asia," said Changyong Rhee, director of IMF's Asia and Pacific Department. Measures to improve education, infrastructure and the regulatory environment would help make digitalization "an even more important engine of growth in the near future," he noted.

The outlook of the region's digital economy is promising. By 2021, the digital transformation would add an estimated 1.16 trillion U.S. dollars to Asia Pacific's GDP, according to a business research produced by Microsoft in partnership with IDC Asia/Pacific early this year.

As a leading innovator and investor in digital technologies, China is playing a dynamic role in driving the region's digital economy growth.

China's digital economy reached 27.2 trillion yuan (about 3.9 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2017, up 20.3 percent year on year, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. The digital economy accounted for 32.9 percent of the country's GDP last year, 2.6 percentage points higher than the previous year.

E-commerce is one of the fastest growing sectors. The current value of China's e-commerce transactions is estimated to be larger than in France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States combined, according to a report from the McKinsey Global Institute.

China has promised to share the opportunities of the digital economy with other nations for inclusive and more sustainable growth.

"It [China] is already shaping the global digital landscape and supporting and inspiring entrepreneurship far beyond its own borders," the McKinsey report said, noting that China's outbound venture capital totaled 38 billion dollars in the 2014-2016 period, up from 6 billion dollars in 2011-2013.

Chinese technology giants like Alibaba and Huawei have expanded their presence in Asia Pacific countries including Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, offering digital services such as mobile payment and e-trade platforms and providing internet infrastructure to create jobs and momentum for the local economy.

"Digital economy means an open economy. It has no future without opening up. China views the digital economy as a common opportunity for global development," said Zhuang Rongwen, director of the Cyberspace Administration of China.

"We are willing to deepen cooperation with other countries to further promote the digital economy and make a bigger cake of development through cross-border e-commerce and open markets," Zhuang said.