China makes plans to boost domestic and foreign trade

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s State Council on Monday released a slew of measures designed to help domestic and foreign firms trade, as policymakers strive to shore up economic growth and boost demand.

Beijing will increase financial support for domestic and foreign trade enterprises, such as supporting more qualified payment institutions and banks to provide foreign exchange settlement services for cross-border e-commerce firms, the State Council said in a document containing 18 measures.

It will also allow local governments to issue special bonds to support the construction of logistics infrastructure to facilitate distribution and transportation of commodities, the document said.

The measures come as China’s top leaders last week pledged to stimulate domestic demand and stablise foreign trade and capital, as the world’s second-largest economy is still being held back by issues including a property crisis, local government debt risks, slowing foreign investment and geopolitical tensions.

China will increase support and relief efforts for enterprises affected by “unreasonable” foreign trade restrictions, the state council said.

Chinese companies have often been the targets of Western sanctions over issues ranging from alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The United States has also been seeking to restrict China’s access to cutting-edge technologies including semiconductors, citing national security concerns.

The authorities will support companies from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau in expanding into the mainland market, the document said.

In September, China announced a plan to turn coastal Fujian province into a zone for integrated development with Taiwan, touting financial market initiatives.

(Reporting by Ethan Wang in Beijing and Twinnie Siu in Hong Kong; Editing by William Maclean and Bernadette Baum)