Five years ago, the scale of cross-border e-commerce imports and exports accounted for less than 1% of China’s foreign trade, and now this figure has risen to about 5%, cross-border e-commerce has become China’s fastest developing, the greatest potential, the strongest driving role of foreign trade. At present, it is necessary to firmly grasp the development opportunities of China’s cross-border e-commerce, solidly promote the construction of cross-border e-commerce comprehensive pilot areas, and create new heights for foreign trade innovation and development.
China has the advantage of a large scale market, and the total number of Internet users and Internet penetration rate rank among the top two in the world, which has laid a solid foundation for the vigorous development of cross-border e-commerce. By the end of 2022, the number of Internet users in China will reach 1.067 billion, and the Internet penetration rate will reach 75.6%. In 2022, the scale of China’s digital economy will reach 50.2 trillion yuan, ranking second in the world, accounting for 41.5% of GDP, and the national online retail sales will reach 13.79 trillion yuan.
During the epidemic, although traditional trade has been severely impacted, new forms of foreign trade represented by cross-border e-commerce have played an important role in securing orders, markets and shares. At the same time, China has continued to introduce policies and measures to strengthen new drivers of foreign trade development and accelerate new forms and models of foreign trade, which have played a positive role in accelerating the digital transformation of enterprises and promoting the steady growth of foreign trade.
At present, China has set up 165 cross-border e-commerce comprehensive pilot zones, covering 31 provinces, regions and municipalities, and China’s cross-border e-commerce import and export reached 2.11 trillion yuan in 2022, an increase of 9.8%. China has more than 100,000 cross-border e-commerce entities, about 690 cross-border e-commerce industrial parks in the comprehensive pilot zone, and signed bilateral e-commerce cooperation memorandums with 29 countries.
At present, a new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation are advancing rapidly, and the global digital economy is booming. Digital trade, with data as the key factor of production, digital services as the core, and digital ordering and delivery as the main feature, has become a new trend in the development of international trade. To provide new opportunities for the rapid development of cross-border e-commerce, it is necessary to promote the rapid development of cross-border e-commerce through active participation and formulation of rules, promote the digital application of trade, and build cross-border logistics networks.
First of all, we should actively participate in and formulate rules for the development of cross-border e-commerce on a global scale. Yi Xiaozhun, former vice minister of Commerce and former deputy Director-General of the World Trade Organization, previously said: “The rapid development of cross-border e-commerce in the past two decades highlights the absence and lag of global trade rules in this field, and puts forward urgent requirements for the reconstruction of global trade rules in the era of digital economy.” In recent years, China has actively participated in the negotiation of the international rules system for the construction of cross-border e-commerce, which has effectively improved the external environment of China’s cross-border e-commerce. Since the establishment of the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) working group in August 2022, China and its members have carried out a lot of fruitful work, contributing to the promotion of digital innovation and the sustainable development of cross-border e-commerce in China.
Second, we should promote the digital application of trade and improve the level of customs clearance facilitation. By vigorously promoting paperless trade, we strive to achieve paperless in the whole trade process, including customs, banking, transportation and insurance, to help e-commerce enterprises reduce operating costs and improve competitiveness in international competition. At the same time, e-commerce platform enterprises and customs departments are encouraged to cooperate and innovate, and constantly simplify customs declaration procedures to make e-commerce safer, more convenient and more efficient.
Third, accelerate the construction of new infrastructure for foreign trade and build cross-border logistics network. Investment in e-commerce infrastructure construction can be increased, and preferential loans, e-commerce personnel training, business investment and other ways can be used to help Chinese e-commerce enterprises sail to the sea.
With fast development, large market potential and strong driving role, cross-border e-commerce can match supply and demand with low cost and high efficiency, and provide personalized and high-quality services for more enterprises and end consumers. In the future, we should continue to innovate in terms of systems, management and services, vigorously cultivate business entities, gradually improve the cross-border e-commerce ecosystem, and create a better environment for the development of cross-border e-commerce.