"Explore the establishment of foreign trade management system" Author: Shen people feel

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening up, the Ministry of Commerce launched the "40 Years of Reform and Opening Up" theme essay activity in all its affiliated units and foreign business organizations, which received positive

Category: Industry News

Editor's note:

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening up, the Ministry of Commerce launched the "40 Years of Reform and Opening Up" theme essay activity in all its affiliated units and foreign business organizations, which received positive responses and active participation from the broad masses of party members and cadres. These manuscripts tell the vivid stories experienced by business people from different angles, reflect the vivid practice and development achievements in various fields of the business front since the reform and opening up, and show the excellent work style and tenacious dedication spirit of generations of business people. Full of absolute loyalty to the party and unlimited love for business. From now on, we will publish some selected works one after another, so stay tuned.

my country's foreign trade management was relatively sound at the beginning of the founding of New China. Later, with the completion of public-private partnerships and socialist transformation of enterprises in the field of foreign trade, import and export management was gradually relaxed or even cancelled, replaced by planning management, foreign exchange management and financial management of state-owned foreign trade enterprises. With the deepening of reform and opening up, the decentralization of foreign trade administration and the increase in various types of enterprises operating foreign trade, foreign trade management issues have been put on the agenda again. All parties required that, from the original Ministry of Foreign Trade to the later Ministry of Economics and Trade, foreign trade should be "liberated without chaos, controlled without death." This is an ideal goal, but in practice it is not easy.

Therefore, foreign trade management has always been under the direct management of the main leaders of the Ministry of Economy and Trade. Minister Chen Muhua, Minister Zheng Tuobin, and Vice Minister Jia Shi have all directly led this work, and the specific implementation was handled by the Foreign Trade Administration.

In the enthusiastic atmosphere of the reform of the foreign trade system, local governments hope to have management rights and enterprises hope to have free import and export rights. At this time, the proposal to strengthen foreign trade management was a bit unpopular. However, some confusion in import and export operations did occur at that time. Although high import prices and low export prices were not a large-scale problem, they also attracted the attention of the central leadership and believed that improvements should be made.

Talking about the necessity of foreign trade management in the Central Party School

In July 1986, I was invited to give a report on my country’s Foreign Trade at the Central Party School. While introducing the situation, I also raised a number of questions, hoping to get your attention and guidance.

When I talked about the issue of foreign trade management, I proposed to "strengthen macro-management and guidance." I said: "For the development of foreign economic and trade, management is always necessary. Now that there are more enterprises, it is even more impossible without management. The macro management of foreign trade, including foreign exchange management, customs management, and foreign trade management, must be closely coordinated. For a period of time, management did not keep up. There were a lot of "parallel imports" exported, which severely impacted the Hong Kong market. As a result, there were no less exports, but prices fell, and foreign exchange was confiscated. Companies engaged in "parallel imports" export cut prices to compete , To obtain foreign exchange and buy other imports to make money. An enterprise does not lose money in the final accounts of imports and exports, but the country suffers. Therefore, it is very important to control foreign exchange. After 1980, we resumed foreign trade management. But how There is no experience to manage and live. In this regard, we must sum up experience and strengthen vigorously.” At that time, I also proposed that to strengthen the macro management of foreign trade, we must gradually transition from direct management to indirect management. After the separation of government and enterprises, the Ministry of Economy and Trade "will treat all enterprises including foreign trade, industry and trade, agricultural trade, military industry, etc., in terms of policies, without discrimination."

Establish rules and regulations to manage in accordance with laws and regulations

At that time, the leaders of the Ministry of Economics and Trade believed that to strengthen foreign trade management, laws and regulations should be formulated, and things should be handled in accordance with laws and regulations, instead of managing matters without rules and regulations. With laws and regulations, everyone abides by them, you can get twice the result with half the effort and do a good job in management.

Based on this idea, the Foreign Trade Administration has attached great importance to the establishment of rules and regulations from the very beginning, and all important regulations have been submitted to the State Council for approval and become the regulations of the State Council. For example, in January 1984, the State Council promulgated the "Interim Regulations on the Import Goods Licensing System of the People's Republic of China"; in March 1985, in accordance with the documents of the State Council, the Ministry of Economy and Trade promulgated the "Interim Measures on the Conditions and Approval Procedures for the Establishment of Foreign Trade Companies." As well as export management (including export quotas, export licenses), trademark management, foreign business management, textile export quota management, etc., there are management regulations and systems.

Regarding this point, the book "Contemporary China's Foreign Trade" has the following statement: "In the new situation of reform and opening up, the characteristics of strengthening foreign trade management are mainly to improve rules and regulations, improve legislation, and develop in the direction of standardization and legalization; Simplify procedures, improve efficiency, and facilitate import and export business activities, both strictly control and provide better services; combine administrative management with the use of laws and economic adjustment methods to ensure that in accordance with the requirements of the combination of planned economy and market adjustment, deepening reforms, Expand opening up and develop foreign trade faster and better."

Send a group to go abroad to inspect foreign trade management

In order to study and absorb foreign experience in foreign trade management, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and later the Ministry of Economics and Trade sent several teams to study abroad. In the past few years, we have inspected developed countries such as the United States, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, West Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Eastern European countries such as Hungary, and developing countries such as Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Argentina. After the inspection, there were detailed inspection reports, and even several pamphlets were widely introduced. The purpose is to formulate foreign trade management methods with Chinese characteristics based on the useful experience of foreign countries and the reality of our country. There are indeed gains in this regard.

went to four Latin American countries for investigation. In 1983, sending a team to four Latin American countries (Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil) to inspect foreign trade management was a decision of the leaders of the Ministry of Economics and Trade and asked me to be the leader of the inspection team.

The purpose of this investigation is to understand the foreign trade management systems and policies of these Latin American countries, and to compare them with my country’s management work, so as to absorb some experience from other countries, and to understand their lessons.

The composition of this inspection team has some characteristics when selecting members. First, except for me as the director, the other six are general cadres; second, they are all young cadres engaged in foreign trade management on the front line; It is that they are all going abroad for the first time. The team members came from Shanghai, Shandong, Guangdong and Fujian, and three of them were from the Trade Management Bureau of the Ministry of Economics and Trade, including me. Because of this, everyone is more modest and willing to learn new knowledge. They are more serious in visiting and listening, and they are closely integrated with their own work and can do comparative research.

Because we are a professional investigation, the topic is novel, and the goal is clear. Our ambassadors and counselors in the country attach great importance to them, introduce the local situation to the group, and arrange a compact schedule for the group.

The inspection team visited Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Brazil and other countries in turn, mainly visiting their Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Foreign Trade, Central Bank, Administration of Foreign Exchange, General Administration of Customs, ports and terminals, several enterprises and intermediary organizations such as associations to listen to introductions. Discussion and exchange.

For different countries, we have studied different management priorities. For example, in Argentina, they studied their textile quota management and the management of bulk export commodities meat and grains, in Chile they studied their export management of copper and pulp, and in Brazil they studied their management of steel and foreign exchange. We focus on the license management of various countries, and go to the scene to see their approval and issuance procedures.

The impression obtained from the inspection of the four countries is that each country attaches importance to foreign trade management and implements a license system to ensure the orderly development of import and export trade; second, all countries attach importance to foreign exchange management to regulate import and export trade , Especially in Brazil, foreign exchange management is very strict; the third is to attach importance to customs border control. The coordination of these three aspects is very important and coincides with our views.

The inspection team made a serious summary and thought it was a great harvest, broadened its horizons, and learned about foreign management measures, some of which can be used for me. More importantly, with the support of the leaders, everyone has strengthened their confidence in foreign trade management.

went to Australia and New Zealand for investigation. In 1984, a team was sent to Australia for inspection. Due to the primitive and backward methods of my country's foreign trade management at that time, some jokes were made when visiting foreign countries.

In 1984, the National Economic Reform Commission, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economy and Trade jointly organized a delegation to Australia and New Zealand to inspect the foreign trade system and management. I am the head of the delegation. Deputy Director Tao Li of the State Economic Reform Commission and Director Jiang Hongnan of the Ministry of Finance attended the delegation.

When we listened to Australian government officials introducing foreign trade management and license approval, someone in the delegation asked them how they dealt with the division of export licenses based on the current situation in my country. Because my country’s export licenses were all paper-based at that time, when the user went to the customs to declare exports, if the export quantity was less than the license quantity, the customs would write the export quantity on the back of the license, and the balance could be used later. Export. For example, the license is approved to export 10,000 tons of pig iron, only 3,000 tons were exported for the first time, and 7,000 tons can be exported later. This was what we called "endorsement" in license management.

But the Australian officials did not understand our question. Later, I realized that their licenses have been applied online and issued online. There are no paper licenses, and the foreign trade management department and customs have been connected to the Internet. When exporters declare exports, the customs operates online, and there is no license at all. Say "endorsement" on the previous page. It was then that we suddenly realized that our management methods and methods were still primitive. We had neither computers nor advanced networking equipment. We still rely on manual operations, so we made a joke.

Now, we also have advanced management methods, management work is in line with international standards, and electronic information management has been realized. When working with foreign countries, we will no longer raise some more "original" issues.

Does foreign trade management need to let facts speak

Although we try our best to manage foreign trade in accordance with national regulations, some places still disapprove of the management of foreign trade and think that it hinders the development of local foreign trade, especially the licensing system for certain import and export goods and the export of textiles. Quota licensing system.

In 1984, some places formally proposed that the permit system implemented by the Ministry of Economy and Trade was not good, which affected the development of local foreign trade. The central leadership asked us to consider this opinion. We were also nervous for a while, because the permit system has just been implemented, and it is an effective system for foreign trade management. If it is denied, the problem of "living and chaotic" in foreign trade work will again appear.

Not long ago, the National Import and Export Freight Supervision Work Conference held by the General Administration of Customs put forward the opposite proposal, believing that “a comprehensive license system should be implemented for import and export goods”, which is good for customs freight supervision.

However, the leaders of the Ministry of Economy and Trade considered that it would be good to be able to hold some commodities and implement a license management system. The full implementation of the import and export license system will not only cause controversy in the international arena and is not in line with the policy of opening up to the outside world, but the local authorities will also be disgusted. The foreign trade management department does not have enough power to do so. Therefore, it is recommended to implement the import and export license management system for some commodities instead of comprehensive license management.

At this time, the "Economic Information Daily" published a survey to illustrate the good economic results after the implementation of export license management with practical examples. The major export commodities they investigated, such as pig iron, menthol oil, reed curtains, freshwater pearls, and leather labor protection gloves, have increased exports, prices have risen, and the phenomenon of low-price auctions has disappeared after the implementation of license management. The leading comrades of the central government instructed in this report: "It seems that this policy should be implemented according to the products and international market conditions." This is a great support for foreign trade management.

In the next few years, although adjustments have been made to the varieties of import and export commodity license management, the license management system has been continued, which has a positive impact both internally and externally.

In fact, when implementing license management, we also fully take care of the actual needs.

On August 24, 1982, a leader of the Jiuquan Steel Plant in Gansu Province approached me. Their unit was a key construction project in the early days of the founding of New China. However, due to various reasons, they only produced iron for decades without steelmaking equipment. The name is Steel Factory, but it has always had iron but no steel. After the reform and opening up, they will use their own strength to export pig iron, buy back steelmaking equipment, and build supporting steelmaking capabilities. I was very encouraged by this and learned about their detailed plan. At that time, the national policy was that the export of pig iron required an export license. In order to support the construction of Jiuquan Steel, we reported to the leaders of the Ministry of Economics and Trade, suggesting that Jiuquan Steel should export a batch of pig iron according to actual needs and obtain foreign exchange to pay for the introduction of steelmaking equipment. After approval, we helped JISCO solve the problem of exporting pig iron and introducing steelmaking equipment. Thirty years later, I visited JISCO in 2011 and saw that they have developed into a large-scale steel industry group with advanced technology. Not only the output of steel is very large, but the output of stainless steel plate is also leading in the country, with huge achievements. I'm very happy.

The number of commodities under license management has been gradually reduced, mainly for imported goods. Moreover, the application for licenses is also handled online, which is simple and fast, which is also an improvement in foreign trade management.

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