China will beef up efforts to maintain stable foreign trade and investment as the COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to the world economy, a minister said Monday.

The country will work to energize foreign trade entities and further improve its business environment, Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan told a press conference on the sidelines of the annual national legislative session.

As foreign trade firms encountered unprecedented difficulties caused by COVID-19, Chinese authorities have supported them with policies in taxation, financing, insurance, industrial chain and supply chain, Zhong said.

To ensure stable foreign trade, China will expand its opening up with efforts including easing market access and shortening the negative list for foreign investment, he said.