China is set to bolster its border and cross-border economic cooperation zones with a set of 15 new measures aimed at expanding their layout and functions. These measures include the addition of new zones and the expansion of existing ones, as well as the encouragement of more international cooperation, such as the high-quality implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement.
According to trade experts, this move is likely to stimulate the growth of trade in both goods and services, as well as the internationalization of the Chinese currency in the coming year. Jointly issued by 17 government branches, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Development and Reform Commission, the circular highlights the key role played by these zones in deepening ties with neighboring countries and regions, as well as supporting the Belt and Road Initiative.
The promotion of border trade will also help address the imbalance in domestic regional development, according to Li Hao, a researcher at the China-ASEAN Collaborative Innovation Center for Regional Development. In addition, it is conducive to promoting the internationalization of the Chinese currency, driving investment in the development of these border and cross-border economic and trade zones.
China’s fast-growing trade volume with other RCEP-related economies, the booming China-Europe freight train services, and cross-border e-commerce activities are set to push forward border trade with neighboring countries at different scales this year, according to Wang Xueling, a researcher specializing in regional economic development.
The government’s measures also include expanding support for innovative industrial development, enhancing production supplies, and improving the institutional structures of the border and cross-border economic cooperation zones. These efforts are likely to put the growth of China’s foreign trade on a firmer footing in 2023, as the country upgrades its industrial structure and aligns with high-standard international economic and trade rules.
Prior to these activities, the Ministry of Commerce adopted a series of measures to spur border trade, including enabling renminbi settlement and simplifying export commodity declarations, as well as building border trade commodity markets and business centers. With the addition of these new measures, China is well on its way to achieving its goal of creating high-level open platforms that stimulate economic growth and deepen ties with neighboring countries and regions.