Shanghai announced a 50-measure action plan on Sunday to fully assist domestic and foreign enterprises to recover from challenges brought by COVID-19 over the past months and reboot the city's economic vitality.
These measures, covering tax rebates, rent reductions, financial subsidies, job market stabilization, promoting business operation resumption, and stabilizing foreign-funded companies' development, have become the city's latest efforts to help enterprises through the unprecedented financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 outbreak that began in early March.
"Shanghai is at a critical juncture in economic recovery and development while continuing to stick to epidemic prevention and control. The city's priority for this phase is to maintain enterprise development and employment situation as well as stabilize its economic fundamental base," said Wu Qing, vice-mayor of Shanghai, at a press briefing on Sunday.
According to the action plan, businesses in catering, retail, tourism, civil aviation, and transportation sectors and small-, medium-, and micro-sized enterprises can postpone paying social insurance premiums and housing provident funds to the end of this year among other reductions and exemptions in fees and taxes.
"We'll allow all enterprises eligible for epidemic prevention and control to fully resume work and production from June 1," said Wu.
"Supporting steps include expanded scope of subsidies for corporate epidemic prevention and disinfection, the establishment of a joint guarantee mechanism for the industrial chain and supply chain in the Yangtze River Delta region, and smoothened domestic and international logistics and transportation channels," he said.
A key part of the action plan is to stabilize foreign investment and trade as well as accelerate the recovery of consumption and investment. Specialists will be assigned to provide service for key foreign-funded enterprises to resume work and production, Wu said.
"Multinational companies will be allowed to apply for the special funds for the development of their regional headquarters in Shanghai in advance this year, and the authority will further support such companies to set up regional headquarters and foreign research and development centers in the city to strive to stabilize their expectations and confidence," he said.
Gu Jun, director of the Shanghai Commerce Commission, said the authority will spare no effort to help foreign-funded companies and those in foreign trade to maintain their orders and markets.
"We'll coordinate with customs, finance, taxation, foreign exchange and other departments to implement various trade facilitation policies, including reducing corporate financing costs," he said.
Altogether 1,525 key foreign-funded companies and those in foreign trade were on the government's list to resume work and production in three batches, and the resumption rate has reached 91 percent, 73 percent, and 50 percent so far, said Gu.
"Shanghai will further play up the role of open platforms, such as the pilot Free Trade Zone, Lingang New Area, and Hongqiao International Central Business District, and enhance its positioning as an open gateway to attract and welcome foreign enterprises to invest in the city in a manner of opening at a higher level to the world," he said.
According to the action plan, consumption boost measures include supporting large commercial enterprises and e-commerce platforms to issue coupons, especially for cultural and creative, tourism, and sports commodities.