[Gao Feng]: Friends from the press, good morning. Welcome to the press conference of the 5th China-Russia Expo. It is scheduled for mid-July this year in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Today we are going to give an overview of the expo and share information on the exhibitions, business activities, and preparation.
[Gao Feng]: We are glad to have with us Mr. Liu Xuesong, deputy director general of Eurasia affairs, ministry of commerce, Mr. Wu Zhengping, director general of the foreign trade development bureau, and Mr. Li Songhua, vice president of the Heilongjiang committee of the CCPIT. Now I’d like to invite Mr. Liu to give an overview of the Expo.
[Liu Xuesong]: Friends from the media, good morning. On behalf of the department of Eurasia affairs of the ministry of commerce, I’d like to thank you for your interest in and support for China-Russia trade and economic cooperation and China-Russia Expo. The CR Expo, jointly held by MOFCOM, the provincial government of Heilongjiang, the ministry of economic development and the ministry of industry and trade of Russia, has been successfully held four times since 2014. It is a comprehensive expo at the highest level and the largest scale between the two countries. With the joint efforts of the two sides, the Expo has become a well-known name and a business card for China-Russia trade and economic relations, playing an important part in our subnational and business cooperation, and the bilateral commercial ties.
As agreed, the 5th China-Russia Expo will be held from 9 to 12 of July in Yekaterinburg, Russia. This is the second time for Russia to host the Expo, following the 3rd Expo held in July 2016 in Yekaterinburg. The two sides are highly committed to this Expo and are making full preparations. Yesterday, Mr. Fu Ziying, China international trade representative and vice minister of commerce, Ms. Jia Yumei, vice governor of Heilongjiang, and Mr. Gruzdev, deputy minister of economic development of Russia, chaired the committee meeting of the 5th Expo to check the progress in preparation and make arrangement for the next step. Here I’d like to inform you of the highlights of this year’s expo.
First, it is of special significance. This expo is the first one since the election of leaders and new administration of the two countries, and means a lot to the consolidation and deepening of bilateral trade relations and expansion of cooperation in various areas. In terms of timing, the expo will come one month after the visit of President Putin to China in June, and represents an important step to deliver on the agreement of the two leaders. Against the backdrop of growing anti-globalization and trade protectionist sentiment, the expo will be a bridge and platform for the dialogue and cooperation between the two businesses and with third parties, and a viable measure of China and Russia to advance the building of an open global economy and promote international trade.
Second, it is full of innovation. After four years growth, the expo has gained greater visibility and improved organization. The fifth year will mark the start of a new stage. The theme of this expo, new starting point, new opportunities, new future, not only echoes the new developments and needs of the bilateral commercial relations, but also set forth new tasks and new requirements for the expo. New features and trends of our commercial cooperation are fully incorporated into the design of exhibitions and business activities, such as China-Russia subnational cooperation forum, and business cooperation in technological innovation, connectivity, agricultural and forestry development, and finance. In the preparation and organization of follow-up events, we will also focus on “new”, and make innovation in thinking, content, and form, so as to take the expo to a high level than the previous four.
Third, it will be a big event for the localities. This year is the year for subnational cooperation and exchanges, as decided by the two leaders. The expo, as a commercial event with the highest level of subnational participation, becomes all the more significant. It is not only high on the agenda of the bilateral commercial relations this year, but also a grand event to enrich subnational cooperation. We have seen great enthusiasm at the subnational level from the two sides. Later my colleague will share with you the organization and exhibition in details.
This is what I have to say about the expo. I’d like to thank you for your interest and support. I look to you for more promotion and publicity of the expo. With our joint efforts, I believe the expo will grow in both size and quality, and contribute further to China-Russia trade and economic relations. Thank you.
Gao Feng: Thank you, Deputy Director General Liu Xuesong. Next, I would like to ask Mr Li Songhua, Vice Chairman of the Heilongjiang Provincial Council for the Promotion of International Trade to bring you up to date with the work to attract exhibitors and businesses.
Li Songhua, Vice Chairman of the Heilongjiang Provincial Council for the Promotion of International Trade: Good morning, friends from the press. First of all, I would like to thank friends from all sectors of the society for their care and support for the China-Russia Exposition. Next, on behalf of the Chinese Secretariat of the Organizing Committee of the China-Russia Exposition, I would like to brief you on the progress of the preparations for the 5th China-Russia Exposition.
The 5th China-Russia Exposition will be held from July 9 to 12, 2018 at Hall 2 of the International Exhibition Center in Yekaterinburg, Russia. The Expo is jointly sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce of China, the People’s Government of Heilongjiang Province, the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, and co-organized by the Bureau of Conference and Exhibition Affairs of Heilongjiang Province and the Bureau of Foreign Trade Development of the Ministry of Commerce. The theme of the expo is “New Starting Point, New Opportunities, New Future”. The total exhibition area of Hall 2 will be about 8,500 square meters, of which two thirds will be used by China and one third by Russia. The total exhibition area for China will be about 5,518 square meters. It consists of two parts, a comprehensive exhibition area and a business exhibition area. The comprehensive exhibition is divided into two parts, a central exhibition area and a province-of-honor exhibition area. The business exhibition area has five sections, namely connectivity, smart manufacturing in China, agricultural cooperation, trade in services, and people-to-people bonds. The central exhibition area, which is under the responsibility of the city of Harbin, focuses on the areas of “One Window, Four Districts”, the construction of the New Longjiang River, the central city for cooperation with Russia, services trade, and bonded areas. It consists of sections on the gathering of new momentum, cooperation with and opening up to Russia, and the beautiful ecological environment. The province of honor on the Chinese side is Chongqing, which will mainly showcase its advantageous industries and products, including intelligent manufacturing and big data industry, machinery manufacturing industry, tourism and food industry, trade and logistics industry, as well as automobile and motorcycle products exported to Russia. Up to now, the registered exhibition area on the Chinese side is 5558 square meters, which has exceeded the planned exhibition area. Nevertheless, some organizations and enterprises are still applying for registration. We will choose the best from these applicants while trying to accommodate their desire to participate. In breakdown, nine provinces (municipalities and regions) including Heilongjiang, Chongqing, Liaoning, Jilin, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Hubei, Sichuan and Guangxi have confirmed their participation; CCPIT-Auto, China Railway, CRRC, China Tobacco, China Aviation Industry Group, China Changan Automobile, Chongqing Lifan, Dazu Laser, Harbin Electric Appliance Group, Hanergy Group and many other large enterprises have confirmed their participation in the exhibition. China Communications Construction, China Unicom, China Huaming, Hanergy Group, Harbin Bank, Shenzhen South China City and a dozen other enterprises have shown intent to participate in the exhibition.
Dozens of Russian enterprises and nine Russian regions have confirmed their participation in the exhibition, covering 89 percent of the exhibition area. The exhibitors are from such industries as transport and logistics, digital economy, and machinery manufacturing. The state of honor from Russia is Sverdlovsk.
This year is the Year of Sino-Russian Local Cooperation and Exchanges. The sectors presented at this exposition are quite in line with the hot areas in Sino-Russian cooperation. The participating enterprises are of a high caliber. The objective of their participation is clear, which is to have pragmatic networking and cooperation with relevant Russian departments and enterprises through this platform.
The Ministry of Commerce and Heilongjiang CPC Provincial Committee and Provincial Government have attached great importance to the exposition, and heard reports on the progress of the preparation many times. They hope to further improve the quality of the exposition and ensure fruitful business matchmaking. To this end, the Heilongjiang Provincial Convention and Exhibition Bureau, as a permanent agency for the Chinese Secretariat of the Organizing Committee of the China-Russia Exposition, has, in different forms, reached out to the commerce departments of relevant provinces and regions of China, national trade associations and important chambers of commerce, such as the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME), in an effort to attract more professional visitors to the exposition.
I hope you would follow the official website of the China-Russia Exposition, where we will publish such information as the progress of work and the arrangement of business activities.
At present, with two months left before the opening of the exposition, preparations are being carried out in a tense and orderly manner. I hereby sincerely invite friends from all walks of life and all parties to participate in this exposition, to explore in-depth exchange and cooperation. Thank you!
Gao Feng: Thank you Vice Chairman Li Songhua for your detailed introduction. Next, Mr. Wu Zhengping, Director General of the Foreign Trade Development Bureau of the Ministry of Commerce, will brief you on the business activities of the Expo.
Wu Zhengping, Director General of the Foreign Trade Development Bureau of the Ministry of Commerce: Good morning, friends from the press. I would like to introduce to you the main business events to be held during the 5th China-Russian Exposition.
Up to now, the Ministry of Commerce of China, Heilongjiang Provincial People’s Government, Guangdong Provincial People’s Government, the General Administration of Customs, the PBOC, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence, the Central Committee of Communist Youth League, China Railway Corporation, CCCME, among others, are scheduled to organize 13 key business activities with their Russian counterparts, featuring themes such as cross-border e-commerce, logistics and customs clearance, technological innovation, agricultural and forestry development, and finance. These 13 business activities are:
1. The First Forum on China-Russia Local Cooperation
2. China-Russia Roundtable on Forestry Investment Cooperation
3. China-Russia Roundtable on Intellectual Property Rights Cooperation
4. China-Russia Seminar on Customs Cooperation
5. The First Meeting of Local Cooperation Working Group under the China-Russia Customs Cooperation Subcommittee
6. China-Russia Roundtable on Financial Cooperation
7. China-Russia Roundtable on Deep Space Exploration
8. Roundtable on Cross-border Business Youth Leaders Cooperation
9. Activity Week on Heilongjiang and Guangdong
10. China-Russia Seminar on Cross-border E-commerce Cooperation
11. Roundtable on Developing Trans-border Railway Corridor
12. China-Russia Roundtable on Paperless Freight Transportation
13. China-Russia Roundtable on Machinery Manufacturing and High-tech Cooperation
Aside from the above national priority commercial activities, Heilongjiang Province and Chongqing Municipality will work with relevant agencies of Sverdlovsk Oblast to organize a series of business events to enrich the exposition and produce more fruits in the Year of Sino-Russian Local Cooperation and Exchanges.
Gao Feng: Thank you, Mr. Wu Zhengping. Just now our three speakers have briefed you on the China-Russia Exposition from different angles. Now, the floor is open. Please follow the routine and let us know which news agency you are from.
China News Agency: Mr. Liu, how do you comment on the current China-Russia trade relations? Besides the exposition, what measures will MOFCOM take to further promote the bilateral trade and economic cooperation? Thank you.
Liu Xuesong, Deputy Director General of Department of Eurasian Affairs: Thank you. With so much hotspot news going on today, many of you still show up here and ask questions about China-Russia commercial relations, which speaks to your care for the trade ties between the two countries. Over recent years, driven by the leaders’ strategy, China and Russia have enjoyed stable and sound trade relations with many bright spots coming up, which have become vital support and driving force for the bilateral relationship. There are the following features.
First, cooperation is guided by institutional integration. As you all know, Russia actively supports and participates in the Belt and Road initiative as a key partner. China and Russia have launched cooperation program connecting the Belt and Road initiative and the Eurasia Economic Union and achieved major early harvests. It is also an important consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and President Putin. Last October, China and the EAEU have substantially concluded negotiations on a trade cooperation agreement which is hopefully to be signed before the end of this year. In addition, China and Russia have initiated a joint feasibility study on achieving an EAEU partnership agreement and reached preliminary outcomes. All these indicate that the bilateral cooperation has entered an institution-driven new stage.
Second, bilateral trade has recovered rapid growth. In 2017, the bilateral trade reached USD 84.07 billion, up by 20.8% year-on-year. China has been Russia’s largest trading partner for eight years in a row. The trade structure has continued to improve. Last year, trade in machine and electric goods and high-tech products grew by 17.8% and 27% respectively. Agricultural trade value hit a new high in recent years with USD 4.08 billion, another highlight in Sino-Russia trade. China has become a major destination for Russian agricultural products and food. Many Chinese consumers are able to have quality produces and foods from Russia on their kitchen tables through e-commerce platforms. Since the outset of this year, China-Russia trade has enjoyed a good start with the trade value growing by up to 30% in the first quarter. We estimate that this year will see the bilateral trade reach or exceed USD 100 billion.
Third, Chinese investment in Russia is picking up markedly. Last year, China’ direct investment in Russia was USD 2.22 billion, growing by 72% year-on-year. The newly-signed contract value of Chinese companies in Russia soared by 191.4% on a YOY basis to USD 7.75 billion, the fastest growth among BRI countries.
Fourth, cooperation on large strategic projects has achieved success. You may have noticed that last year, a joint venture was established to lead the program of developing the widebody long-haul airliner named CR929. The first phase of Yamal LNG project that PetroChina and the Silk Road Fund have shares in has been put into operation, becoming the first whole industrial chain cooperation program in the Arctic. Major strategic cooperation on energy, nuclear energy, aerospace, infrastructure and others has made significant progress. China and Russia are actively pushing for cooperation on digital economy in the Arctic, with an aim to build a digital silk road and an icy silk road.
Fifth, local cooperation is booming. Local cooperation mechanisms such as, among others, the cooperation committees between Northeast China and the Far East and Baikal Region, the middle and upstream Yangtze River region and the Volga Federal District have been operating efficiently. China has seen progress made in Far East cooperation, becoming the region’s largest trading partner and major source of foreign capital. The exposition has been held four times successfully and become an important platform for exchanges between localities and businesses. China and Russia have expanded connection with each other with the help of other forums including the Canton Fair, China-Northeast Asia Expo, China-Eurasia Expo, St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, and Eastern Economic Forum. All these efforts have produced good results.
Overall speaking, China-Russia trade and economic relations have picked momentum and moved to a higher level. The cooperation model now builds on trade, draws on investment, focuses on major strategic projects and is underpinned by local cooperation with the connection between the Belt and Road initiative and the EAEU as the main theme.
Going forward, MOFCOM, along with relevant agencies, will keep working closely with Russian counterparts to vigorously implement the important consensus reached by our leaders. We will strengthen synergy of development strategies and institutions, maintain the good momentum of trade, improve the trade structure, support new business models like cross-border e-commerce, deepen cooperation on areas such as measurement and standards, accreditation and customs clearance, inspection and quarantine, and continue to enhance the level of facilitation. We will widen the area of two-way investment and deepen cooperation on major strategic programs, make the most of inventory, expand incremental and improve quality. We will use the Year of Sino-Russian Local Cooperation and Exchanges as an opportunity to deepen local cooperation, make full use of the first China International Import Expo, the fifth China-Russia Expo, the Eastern Economic Forum and other platforms to facilitate exchanges and cooperation between local governments and businesses, yield more cooperation fruits, lift the quality and level of China-Russia cooperation across the board and inject new impetus to the China-Russia comprehensive collaborative strategic partnership in the new era. Thank you.
MASTV: My question is for Director General Wu Zhengping. You just briefed on the 13 key business events to be held during the expo agreed by the two sides. We would like to know the features of those activities. Thank you.
Wu Zhengping, Director General of Foreign Trade Development Bureau: Thank you for your question. The governments of China and Russia take this China-Russia EXPO very seriously. The governments of the two countries are busy preparing for this expo. The commercial activities under this expo have three features:
First, the best projects are selected. Up till now, the governments of both countries have agreed on jointly hosting 13 key commercial activities. Focused on popular areas for current China-Russia cooperation, such activities have followed the new trends and met the new demands of bilateral economic ties and trade and will present the overall pragmatic cooperation achievements between the two countries.
Second, the areas are extensive. The commercial activities during this expo will cover cross-border e-commerce, logistics, customs clearance, technology innovation, agriculture and forestry development and finance. This extensive coverage of sectors will offer a strong boost to exchanges and cooperation between companies of two countries.
Third, the themes are new. During this expo, the first China-Russia Subnational Cooperation Forum will be hosted. This activity will enrich the Year of China-Russia Local Cooperation and Exchange and represent the new features and trends of China-Russia local business cooperation in a new era. In addition, the Forestry Investment and Cooperation Roundtable co-hosted by the Ministry of Commerce of China and the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia has been held four times, making it a vital platform for the forestry communities of China and Russia to exchange views and work together. This roundtable will be convened under innovative topics and diversified formats, including four sections of government voices, industrial dialogue, company exchanges and project matchmaking. Officials from relevant government departments of the two countries, representative industrial associations and representatives of leading forestry companies are invited to the Roundtable, which will find new opportunities and good partners for companies in their future development and contribute ideas and wisdom for high-quality development of forestry cooperation between the two countries.
In a word, under the theme of the expo, the commercial activities will enrich the expo and elevate cooperation between Chinese and Russian companies to a new level. Thank you.
Central Radio and Television Station: A follow-up question for Director General Wu Zhengping. In your opinion, how will the 13 commercial activities promote China-Russia trade and economic cooperation? Thank you.
Wu Zhengping, Director General of Foreign Trade Development Bureau: This expo combines exhibition, discussion and negotiation. The activities are pragmatic, focused, economical and efficient. It will build a comprehensive platform for exchanges and cooperation between China and Russia and strive to play a positive role in boosting bilateral trade and economic ties. The planned commercial activities during the expo will become important channels of cooperation for companies of two countries and a platform for companies, especially SMEs to cooperate and work together.
The commercial activities held during the 5th China-Russia EXPO not only covers traditional advantageous cooperation areas between China and Russia, but also promotes technological innovation, SME cooperation and trade and investment facilitation. For example, the two sides will host several activities on cross-border e-commerce, customs cooperation and IP cooperation during the expo. Such activities will further drive exchanges and cooperation in trade and investment facilitation and play an important role in bilateral economic cooperation and trade.
Gao Feng: Due to time limits, the last question, please.
Economic Information Daily: My question goes to Vice-chairman Li Songhua. What services will be provided by the Chinese organizing committee to the exhibitors? Thank you.
Li Songhua, Vice-chairman of CCPIT Heilongjiang: As the Chinese Secretariat for the China-Russia EXPO, the Heilongjiang Exhibition and Conference Bureau will offer comprehensive services for domestic participating companies. I will brief you on the services we are about to provide this year.
On the basis of experience gained during the 3rd China-Russia EXPO in 2016 when the expo was held abroad, we further improve the comprehensive service mechanism and the recruitment of service providers in building booths, reception, exhibit logistics and traveling. We have provided a series of services, including registration and participation guidelines.
In the latter half of May, by cooperating with Harbin Customs, we will invite Ural Customs to jointly host a press conference on policies related to customs clearance for exhibits to be displayed in the expo and answer questions from participating companies, ensuring that all exhibits will enter the country smoothly. Based on participation in the expo and other events in Yekaterinburg, we will set up a one-stop working mechanism, a general service desk and a service mechanism based on different posts, all with specific persons in charge to guarantee an orderly expo. We hope that you can follow the official website of China-Russia EXPO, where we will give timely updates on progress and arrangements of commercial activities. Thank you.
Gao Feng: That is all for today’s conference. I want to thank the three speakers and all the journalists here today. Thank you all.