China Table of Contents
The increasingly complex foreign trade system underwent expansion and decentralization in the late 1970s and 1980s. In 1979 the Ministry of Foreign Trade's nine foreign trade corporations lost their monopoly on import and export transactions as the industrial ministries were permitted to establish their own foreign trade enterprises. The provincial branch corporations of the state foreign trade corporations were granted more autonomy, and some provinces, notably Fujian, Guangdong, and the special municipalities of Beijing, Tianjin, and Shanghai were permitted to set up independent, provincial-level import-export companies. Some selected provincial enterprises were granted autonomy in foreign trade decisions. In 1982 the State Council's Import-Export Control Commission, Foreign Investment and Control Commission, Ministry of Foreign Trade, and Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations were merged to form the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations and Trade. In 1984 the foreign trade system underwent further decentralization. Foreign trade corporations under this and other ministries and under provincial-level units became independent of their parent organizations and were responsible for their own profits and losses. An agency system for foreign trade also was established, in which imports and exports were handled by specialized enterprises and corporations acting as agents on a commission basis.
Data as of July 1987