Foreign trade is one of the "troikas" driving economic growth and plays an important role in stabilizing the economy and promoting development.

This year's "Government Work Report" included "maintaining stability and improving quality of imports and exports" as an important part of the main expected development goals this year, requiring "promoting the steady development of foreign trade and foreign investment" and "making full use of two markets and two resources to continuously expand foreign economic and trade cooperation."

Recently, the "Opinions on Promoting the Stability and Quality Improvement of Foreign Trade" was issued, which made further arrangements for helping foreign trade enterprises to cope with difficulties and challenges, and clarified the direction of efforts to better achieve the task of maintaining the stability and quality of imports and exports.

  Correctly understand foreign trade to maintain stability and improve quality

  Under the impact of the epidemic in the 20th century, the evolution of the century-old changes has accelerated, and the external environment has become more complex, severe and uncertain. my country's economic development is facing the triple pressure of demand contraction, supply shock, and weakening expectations.

my country's economy is resilient, and the fundamentals of long-term improvement will not change. However, we must also see that the task of keeping the economy operating within a reasonable range is still arduous. We must focus on stabilizing the fundamentals of foreign trade and foreign investment, and then help stabilize the economy and stabilize the industrial chain and supply chain.

  For promoting the stability and improvement of foreign trade, some understandings need to be clarified.

  First of all, maintaining the stability and improving the quality of foreign trade is a two-way requirement for exports and imports.

That is to say, the requirement of maintaining stability and improving quality is not only for export, but also for import, which is to realize the two-way stability and quality improvement of export and import.

  Second, the basis for maintaining stability and improving the quality of foreign trade lies in maintaining "stability".

This "stable" has two meanings.

One is to maintain the stability of my country's import and export scale.

In 2021, my country's exports and imports of goods will reach US$3.36 trillion and US$2.69 trillion respectively, both hitting record highs.

The so-called stability is to maintain the basic stability of the export value and import value on this scale.

The second is to maintain the stability of my country's international market share of imports and exports.

In 2021, the international market share of my country's export of goods will rise to 15.1%, and it is necessary to continue to maintain a basic stability in this international market share.

In general, on the basis of the achievements made last year, we need to take effective measures to ensure that the scale of foreign trade and international market share remain within a reasonable range.

  Third, the key to maintaining stability and improving foreign trade quality lies in improving "quality".

The so-called quality improvement is to improve the quality and efficiency of my country's foreign trade development.

Since 2017, my country has maintained the status of the world's largest trader in goods for five consecutive years.

In addition to ranking first in the world in trade in goods, in 2020, my country's total trade in goods and services will once again rank first in the world.

my country is already the world's largest trade country, but it is big but not strong. At the same time, the problem of being big but not fine is also more prominent. We must promote the high-quality development of trade and achieve a high level of opening to the outside world.

  The importance of maintaining stability and improving quality is highlighted

  At present, the new crown pneumonia epidemic and the Ukraine crisis have led to increased risks and challenges. The complexity, severity and uncertainty of my country's economic development environment have increased, and stable growth, employment, and prices are facing new challenges.

In this context, the importance of promoting the stability and improvement of foreign trade is even more prominent.

  important support for stable growth.

Since March this year, affected by the epidemic and the Ukraine crisis, facing the triple pressures of shrinking demand, supply shocks and weakening expectations, we have to intensify macro policy adjustments, stabilize the economy, and keep the economy operating within a reasonable range.

In recent years, the supporting role of foreign trade in economic growth has become more prominent.

In 2020, the new crown pneumonia epidemic has caused a great impact on my country's final consumption expenditure, while foreign trade has played an important role in adjustment. The contribution rate of net exports of goods and services to GDP growth reached 25.3%.

In 2021, the contribution rate of foreign trade to my country's GDP growth will still be as high as 20.9%.

In the face of the current complex and severe economic situation, we must take the stabilization and improvement of foreign trade as an important focus for stabilizing the macroeconomic market.

  An important starting point for securing employment.

In the face of the complex internal and external environment and the continuous and repeated negative impact of the new crown pneumonia epidemic, my country is facing greater pressure to stabilize employment, and it is more difficult for key groups such as college graduates to find employment.

Foreign trade activities can effectively drive and expand employment, and promoting the stability and quality of foreign trade is also an important starting point for ensuring employment.

Statistics show that the number of employed people directly and indirectly driven by my country's foreign trade is as high as 180 million, and one out of every four employed people is engaged in foreign trade-related jobs.

It is also estimated that my country's export of goods per million US dollars drives employment in my country by 59.0 people, and exports of services per million US dollars drive employment in my country by 104.8 people.

Among them, per million US dollars of general trade exports can bring 82.7 person-times of employment, while processing trade is 26.5 person-times.

Promoting the stability and improvement of foreign trade can not only stabilize the overall scale of foreign trade and the scale of employment absorption by foreign trade, but also optimize the structure of foreign trade and increase the proportion of general trade, thereby enhancing the ability of foreign trade to absorb employment.

  important means of risk prevention.

Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pneumonia, my country's trade surplus in goods has reached 523.99 billion US dollars and 676.43 billion US dollars in 2020 and 2021 respectively. Foreign trade can not only create foreign exchange income, but also increase tax sources. to an important role.

In the first four months of this year, my country's value-added tax and consumption tax on imported goods reached 690.5 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 17.8%; tariffs reached 99 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 0.4%.

Promoting the stability and improvement of foreign trade can further improve the international competitiveness of my country's foreign trade, enrich foreign exchange reserves, increase fiscal revenue, and enrich my country's means of preventing and resolving major risks.

  An important path to adjust the structure.

Foreign trade is an important part of my country's open economy and an important driving force for the development of the national economy. It is a key hub for smooth domestic and international circulation.

Promoting the stability and improvement of foreign trade is not only an inevitable measure to speed up the construction of a new development pattern, but also an important part of promoting high-quality economic development.

At present, most of my country's export commodities are aimed at the markets of developed countries, and the applicable product quality standards and production environmental protection standards are relatively strict, and the market competition they face is very fierce.

The technical level, management ability and innovation ability that many enterprises possess in order to participate in the international market competition are often at the leading level in the domestic industry, and these capabilities represent the direction of my country's industrial transformation, upgrading and structural adjustment to some extent.

Promoting the stability and improvement of foreign trade can not only further promote my country's high-tech and high-value-added manufacturing enterprises to participate in international competition at a higher level, but also promote the transformation and upgrading of traditional industries, and promote the quality and efficiency of the manufacturing industry, thereby helping to achieve High-quality economic development.

  Play the role of foreign trade "stabilizer" and "regulator"

  Over the years, my country has attached great importance to the high-quality development of foreign trade.

Thanks to the effect of coordinating epidemic prevention and control and economic and social development, the effect of foreign trade orders returning is obvious.

In 2021, the total import and export volume of my country's trade in goods will exceed the two levels of 5 trillion US dollars and 6 trillion US dollars in a row, setting a record high, and the scale and international market share far exceed expectations.

On this basis, to further promote the stability and improvement of foreign trade, it is necessary to take targeted measures around the pain points and difficulties of foreign trade development, make efforts to strengthen the production and operation guarantee of foreign trade enterprises, and do a good job of helping enterprises in bailouts, especially to grasp and solve them in a timely manner. The difficulties faced by small, medium and micro foreign trade enterprises should focus on securing orders and stabilizing expectations.

  From an international perspective, the Ukrainian crisis has exacerbated the tension in the global supply chain, the global inflationary pressure has risen significantly, and the global economy and trade growth are facing a significant impact.

From a domestic perspective, the epidemic has spread in many places, the production and operation of some foreign trade enterprises have been affected, logistics and transportation have been blocked, the supply chain in the Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta and other regions has been blocked, and the overall cost of enterprises has risen.

  In the face of these sudden difficulties and challenges, we must adhere to the problem orientation, focus on new situations and solve new problems, and effectively strengthen the production and operation guarantee of foreign trade enterprises, promote the smooth and smooth transportation of foreign trade goods, and enhance the functions of maritime logistics services to stabilize foreign trade. work hard.

At the same time, promote the accelerated development of cross-border e-commerce, improve quality and efficiency, promote the development of international markets for high value-added products, promote enterprises to make good use of online channels, promote platform cultivation and construction, and support foreign trade enterprises to expand channels.

In addition, it is necessary to closely track the international environment for foreign trade development and the specific difficulties of foreign trade enterprises, increase export credit insurance support, import and export credit support, and further strengthen financial support for small, medium and micro foreign trade enterprises.

Take multiple measures simultaneously, implement comprehensive policies, and coordinate efforts to ensure the realization of the objectives and tasks of maintaining stability and improving foreign trade, and better play the role of foreign trade as a "stabilizer" and "regulator" for economic growth and high-quality development.

  (The author is the director and researcher of the Institute of Foreign Trade of the Institute of International Trade and Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Commerce)

  Liang Ming

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