World Economy

China to Remove Internal Trade Barriers

China to Remove Internal Trade BarriersChina to Remove Internal Trade Barriers

China will accelerate reforms to remove internal barriers to both foreign and domestic trade, the country’s cabinet said on Monday, a move designed to bolster domestic consumption in its slowing economy.

In a comprehensive statement on its website, China’s State Council outlined plans to increase economic activity across a wide range of sectors in the world’s second-largest economy, Reuters reported.

China is looking to give both international and domestic investors increased access to the world’s second-largest economy in a bid to promote consumption. The statement follows the council’s October plenum, which outlined broad the state’s broad strategic objectives for the next five years.

The state council said in its statement it is seeking to “eliminate all kinds of conspicuous and hidden administrative monopolies, strengthen anti-monopoly laws” in an attempt to remove protectionist policies between various provinces.

While weakening China trade comes on the back of falling commodity prices and softening global growth, analysts also blame provincial protectionist import substitution policies for artificially suppressing Chinese demand for foreign products.

Additionally, the government said it would accelerate reform of the country’s residence registration, or “hukou”, system to unleash the spending potential of China’s rural population, the document said. Rural residents will be supported to buy their own homes and small- and medium-sized cities will be encouraged to implement tailored policies, favorable to them.

All Chinese residents have a hukou that determines their access to education and other social welfare services.

University graduates who choose to settle in provincial capitals and smaller cities would be granted local residence registration, the document said.

The government also pledged to improve internet infrastructure and e-commerce logistics of the “last mile”–the final portion of a package’s journey from a retailer’s warehouse or store to the customer’s front door.