Government policies stabilize foreign deals
Despite the impact of the novel coronavirus, Shandong province has made great efforts to stabilize foreign trade by releasing a series of policies and providing services for foreign trade companies.
Lyu Wei, deputy director of the Department of Commerce of Shandong province said : "With the pandemic continuing to spread globally, Shandong is facing new difficulties and challenges."
The province released 32 supporting policies during the outbreak, in efforts to better prevent and control the pandemic and stabilize Shandong's foreign trade, Lyu said.
The government reduced the prices of gas and electricity and reduced or delayed tax payments to ease financial pressures till the end of June.
Transportation, catering, accommodation, tourism, exhibitions and cinemas badly affected by the outbreak are exempt from property tax and land use tax in the first quarter of this year.
The province has also optimized customs procedures, such as allowing companies to choose a customs clearance mode, to improve the efficiency of foreign trade and investment.
During the outbreak, Shandong hosted a series of online export exhibitions for Eastern Europe, Pakistan and Thailand. To date, the province has organized 229 companies to connect with 120 overseas purchasers.
The Department of Commerce of Shandong province has provided financial support for exhibitors online and offline, to help them expand markets.
According to Lyu, to improve international freight capacity and unblock logistics channels, Shandong opened six international freight flights, including Jinan to Seoul in South Korea, Qingdao to Osaka in Japan and Qingdao to Bangkok, Thailand.
The province has also provided specific services for foreign trade companies to promote the resumption and efficient operation of supply chain under safe control and prevention of the pandemic.
At the Jining National High-Tech Industrial Development Zone, Leoni, a leading German provider of cables and wiring systems to the automotive sector, exports its products to North America. However, overseas orders were all canceled because of the pandemic.
To help the company expand sales channels, the local government introduced leading construction machinery companies to Leoni, who signed agreements and launched business together.
The Jining National High-Tech Industrial Development Zone also provided technical support and helped Leoni recruit more skilled workers.
With all its efforts, in the first quarter, foreign trade in the province totaled 446.75 billion yuan ($63.13 billion), down 3.6 percent year-on-year. Export reached 237.17 billion yuan, declining 4.5 percent compared with same period last year. Import business totaled 209.59 billion yuan, down 2.6 percent year-on-year.
The actual use of foreign capital saw a slight increase of 0.88 percent year-on-year, reaching $3.18 billion.