Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday urged more support for the development of China's foreign trade so as to promote balanced and steady development of the country's economy.
"Foreign trade is an important part of the national economy. To stabilize foreign trade and make it stronger is important to ensure the economy runs smoothly and upgrade," according to a statement issued after a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li.
Tepid global demand and slowing domestic economy have dealt a blow to China's foreign trade. It fell 7 percent year on year in 2015, with exports down 1.8 percent and imports down 13.2 percent.
However, the March data provided some relief. Exports last month surged 18.7 percent year on year, the first increase since December, compared with falls of 20.6 percent in February and 6.6 percent in January. Imports dipped 1.7 percent, an improvement from February's 8-percent drop.
According to Wednesday's statement, several measures are in the pipelines to prop up foreign trade.
Financial institutions are encouraged to increase financial support for foreign trade enterprises that are "making profits and receiving orders." The tax rebate rate for some mechanical and electrical products will be increased. The statement did not specify what products it was referring to.
There will be more cross-border e-commerce pilots to support Chinese companies in increasing their overseas presence.
"Proactive import policies" will be implemented, with extra support for the import of advanced equipment and technologies, the statement read.
The meeting also pointed out that improvement in transportation infrastructure is badly needed in old revolutionary bases, ethnic minority areas, border areas and poverty-stricken areas.
Strengthening the construction of transport infrastructure is key to lifting the underdeveloped areas out of poverty and promoting balanced development among regions, according to the statement.
China will accelerate the construction and upgrading of rural roads, expressways, rails and airports over the next five years to benefit its people, said the statement.
The meeting set a batch of innovation and entrepreneurship demonstration bases in provincial-level regions to draw innovators throughout the country and promote the development of the new economy.
The demonstration bases should run trials on creating a level playing field, talent flow, and collaborative innovation, among others, according to the statement.
(Xinhua News Agency April 20, 2016)