context: As an innovative trade form, cross-border e-commerce has grown rapidly during the pandemic and become a key booster to gradually slowing export growth. Nevertheless, constructing support logistics facilities outside regional commercial hubs will need to be scaled up to reduce transport costs for SMEs.

State Council approved the establishment of comprehensive pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce in 27 cities and areas on 8 Feb 2022, adding to a list of 105 existing pilot zones. The approval notice specifies

  • new zones should
    • adhere to new development concepts
    • progress at a sustainable rate
    • draw experience from existing zones to drive industrial upgrading and transformation
    • boost brand building
    • aim to help stabilise the fundamental landscape of foreign trade and investment
    • promote higher-quality development of trade
  • the zones should be well regulated in terms of
    • national security
    • internet and data security
    • biosafety
    • quality of imported and exported commodities
    • transaction risks
  • requiring local governments to
    • further improve the cross-border e-commerce statistical system
    • employ an innovation-driven model where the market can play a decisive role in resource allocation
    • make breakthroughs in improving mechanisms for cross-border e-commerce
    • strengthen coordination, guidance and policy support for integrated pilot zones
    • assist enterprises in jointly building and sharing overseas warehouses

According to Zhao Ping 赵萍 China Trade Promotion Association Research Institute deputy dean, the latest round of cross-border e-commerce comprehensive pilot zones will focus on

  • facilitating digital transformation of traditional industries
  • preventing the disorderly expansion of capital
  • guiding the sustainable development of cross-border e-commerce
  • stabilising foreign trade growth
  • safeguarding national security in cross-border transactions