Foreign firms' recovery in focus【Mitigate COVID-19 impact on biz, Difficulties in logistics,Policy assistance】


Employees work on the auto component production line of a German company in Anshan, Liaoning province. [Photo/Xinhua]

MOC unveils coordinated measures to mitigate COVID-19 impact on biz


China will take targeted measures to help foreign companies resume production while containing the latest outbreaks of COVID-19, to put its economic growth on a firmer footing, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.


To mitigate the impact of the highly infectious Omicron strain of the novel coronavirus, which has spread to multiple cities, including the country's biggest business hub Shanghai, the government will address specific difficulties faced by foreign-funded companies in resuming work and accessing production materials, said Gao Feng, the ministry's spokesman.


The government has already optimized epidemic prevention and control measures, ensured smooth transportation channels, and facilitated raw material and emergency supplies to companies, including foreign-funded enterprises, affected by the latest COVID-19 outbreak in many parts of the country.


In the next step, the Ministry of Commerce will work closely with various working teams at key foreign-funded projects and the government branches concerned to accelerate the implementation of these measures and to help them restart their production and operations, Gao said.


German industrial giant Bosch Group said its auto parts plants in Shanghai and Taicang, Jiangsu province, have continued production under closed-loop management. Its thermal technology factory in Shanghai, however, has halted production.


The group's auto parts plant in Changchun, Jilin province, resumed production earlier this week, the company said in a statement.


Zhang Yanbing, a manager at Taicang-based BOS Automotive Systems (Taicang) Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Germany's BOS Group, which supplies automotive interiors to BMW and Mercedes, as well as Chinese companies Geely and Nio, said the company has faced difficulties in logistics since it restarted its operations on Sunday.


"We mainly import raw materials and industrial parts from Europe, such as motors and wiring harnesses. Our weekly import frequency is currently about 10 containers, and the import volume in March soared by 13 percent year-on-year," he said.


"Demand for these materials, driven by Chinese automakers' orders, especially new energy vehicle makers, will keep increasing in the coming months."


To help export-oriented companies cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ministry, together with various other government branches, has been deploying resources to resolve difficulties in aviation, railways and shipping transportation services while strengthening services in the areas of logistics, personnel flow and trade settlement, so that businesses can resume production.


Through policy assistance, the Ministry of Commerce started to work with China Export and Credit Insurance Corp in late February to give full play to export credit insurance in risk prevention and credit enhancement.


By stepping up the use of export credit insurance, the ministry will protect exporters from the risk of nonpayment by foreign buyers, and raise foreign trade companies' risk-hedging capability for the two-way fluctuation of the renminbi exchange rate. This move is part of its holistic efforts to stabilize market entities and spur foreign trade growth, the ministry said.


To remove institutional obstacles to the integration of China's domestic and foreign trade channels as well as unclog both domestic and international circulations, the government will make certain that domestic and foreign trade rules are effectively aligned, promote product benchmarking and cross-border e-commerce platforms, and speed up digital empowerment, Gao from the commerce ministry said.


The ministry will work with the government departments concerned in selected areas to carry out pilot projects for the integration of domestic and foreign trade channels, and form a batch of replicable experiences and practices to promote this trading form across the country.


China's foreign trade soared 10.7 percent year-on-year to 9.42 trillion yuan ($1.48 trillion) in the first quarter of this year, maintaining growth momentum for seven quarters amid mounting challenges ranging from domestic Omicron outbreaks and external risks, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.