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Regular Press Conference of the Ministry of Commerce (November 28, 2019)

Dear friends from the press, good afternoon! Welcome to MOFCOM’s press conference. With no announcements to make today, I’d like to take your questions. The floor is open.

Phoenix TV: We’ve noted that MOCOM and the NDRC jointly issued the “Negative List for Market Access (2019 Edition)” on November 22, down 20 administrative measures from the 2018 Edition. What are the main features for this year’s Negative List?

Compared to the 2018 Edition, the 2019 Edition has been further improved by reducing and optimizing administrative measures, enriching the content concerning information disclosure while maintaining the List’s stability and consistency. The administrative system of negative list for market access is being constantly improved and bears the following features:

First, the system of “one list for the whole country” is improved. The List has included “Negative List for Industry Access of National Key Ecological Function Areas at Local Level and Major Agricultural Regions (or Catalogue for Prohibited and Restricted Access)”, and removed 23 negative lists for market access compiled and released at local level.

Second, we have ensured that all legal and effective access measures have been included into the Negative List. Apart from including newly introduced measures, we have added some measures that echo the positioning of the Negative List, including some local measures.

Third, we have kept shortening the Negative List. Some key measures on the 2018 Edition have been removed, meaning these business and sectors are now open to foreign investment. In addition, some measures that are contrary to the positioning of the Negative List have also been deleted. The 2019 Edition altogether contains 131 entries, 20 entries fewer than the 2018 Edition.

Fourth, the Negative List has laid a foundation for achieving clarity and consistency. We have also published the competent authorities for corresponding measures on the Negative List, and numbered all the entries in a uniform manner.

Fifth, the needs of market players have been reflected in the Negative List in a more comprehensive and targeted way. We have drawn on suggestions and opinions from a range of relevant parties, including government departments, local governments, industrial organizations and market players. Based on the 2018 Edition’s framework, we have enriched the content, improved the list system, and made the List more science-based and regulated.

The Negative List 2019 Edition will facilitate the market to play a decisive role in resource allocation, lower the threshold for market access and unleash the vitality of all types of market players. Thank you.

CNBC: First question, what are the latest developments of China-US trade frictions? Will the Phase-one Deal be completed by December 15? Second question, are the current negotiations focusing on tariffs, agricultural purchases or are there any other aspects?

On the morning of November 26, Vice Premier Liu He and the USTR Mr. Lighthizer and US Secretary of Treasury Mr. Mnuchin had a phone call, which has been already reported by the media. Thank you.

CNR: We know that national economic zones have increasingly become an effective platform to stabilize foreign trade and foreign investment. The Department of Foreign Investment Administration of MOFCOM said that the Meeting on the Work of National Economic and Technological Development Zones had been held. What progress has been made in pushing forward the “three innovations and two improvements” for national economic zones? What are the plans for future development?

In May this year, the State Council identified the direction for national economic and technological development zones (NETDZ), featuring “three innovations and two improvements”. Some NETDZs have already begun exploration in that direction. For instance, Guangzhou NETDZ has pooled high quality foreign investment, as a total of 3400 foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) have settled in the development zone, 192 of which are World Top 500. Now it has become one of the regions receiving the most multinational companies’ investment in China. Jiangning NETDZ has explored innovative resources and established the Overseas Coordinated Innovation Center. Tianjin NETDZ is pushing forward the reform of statutory authorities and accumulated useful experience in administrative management system, organizing patterns, personnel mechanisms and performance appraisal. So far, the 219 NETDZs across China are home to 22000 high and new tech companies, as well as over 450 national incubators and maker spaces. Their import and export value for the first three quarters of this year totaled RMB4.4 trillion, a year-on-year increase of 7.6%, accounting for 19.2% of the total of the country, up by 0.6 percentage points. The utilization of foreign investment and reinvestment by FIEs stood at USD37.2 billion, a year-on-year growth of 3%.

Moving forward, we will work with relevant departments and local governments to promote transformation and upgrading of NETDZs in the following aspects:

First, we will strive to build platforms for high-level opening up. We will strengthen investment-driven development, encourage NETDZs to bring in functional agencies in research and development and settlement; we will speed up the development of new business models for foreign trade in NETDZs, support eligible NETDZs in building foreign trade transformation and upgrading bases as well as public services platforms for foreign trade.

Second, we will strive to enhance capabilities in technological innovation and industrial competitiveness. We will first foster industrial clusters of advanced manufacturing in qualified NETDZs and guide NETDZs in the central and west to actively carry on relocated industries; we will leverage the role of companies as major players of innovation and build platforms of innovation and entrepreneurship; we will create a favorable environment for innovation to attract and bring together more talents.

Third, we will strive to press ahead with the institutional reform. We will encourage NETDZs to replicate and scale up the reform experience in FTZs and delegate economic management authority at provincial and municipal levels to lower levels; we will intensify the efforts in the reform of “administration streamlining and power delegation”; we will also improve the evaluation system for the comprehensive development of NETDZs.

Fourth, we will strive to establish and improve the working mechanism. We will consolidate coordination between local governments and relevant government departments so as to forge the great synergy for the innovation of NETDZs.

We will work conscientiously together with relevant departments and local governments to achieve high-level opening up and high-quality development of NETDZs, and build them into new high grounds for reform and opening up. Thank you!

stores. What’s the comment of MOFCOM? We noted that Carrefour and Metro have moved to shrink business footprint in China. How do you evaluate the outlook of retail market in China?

Gao Feng: We noted the investment plan of Walmart. Apart from Walmart, a number of multinational retailers have increased investment to China’s mainland. Adidas, Nike, Lego have opened new flagship stores in cities like Beijing and Shanghai. ALDI entered the mainland market for the first time. Lawson is expanding rapidly in northeastern and northwestern China and in third- or fourth-tiered cities. Overall, foreign-invested retailers are quickening the pace to increase business footprint in China, with a variety of new brands, new flagship stores, and new business models.

China’s commercial retail market is open and fast-growing. As the consumption structure keeps upgrading and consumers look to more personalized, diverse, and customized products, retail industry is focusing more on convenience, uniqueness, and experiences. We will continue to create a market-driven, law-based and world-class business environment to all market players, including FIEs, so that all types of retailers can jointly enlarge the pie of the Chinese market and meet the demand for quality and diverse consumption for common development. Thank you.

CBN: We noted that pork price has declined recently. According to the information of MOFCOM, has the pork price peaked? What measures will MOFCOM take to stabilize pork price?

Gao Feng: Since early November, pork price has markedly dropped due to rising pig stock month on month, more frozen pork released to the market, and increasing pork import. According to MOFCOM statistics, between November 18 and 24, the average wholesale pork price in 36 large and medium cities was 43.66 yuan per kilo, down by 8.6% from the previous week. The margin was 1.7 percentage points larger than the week before, and down by 16.5% from early November.

Going forward, MOFCOM, in collaboration with related authorities, will take measures to ease the pork price fluctuation to ensure supply to the meat market. First, we will guide the areas with pork undersupply to match suppliers and sellers, match large wholesale and retail businesses with slaughtering companies in major pig-farming areas, broaden supply channels. Second, encourage import. We will continue to encourage importers to diversify sources and increase import of quality meat. Meat import for the whole year is expected to be over six million tons, among which import of pork and related products will be over three million tons. Third, to ensure the demands are met for the festivals, we will get ready to release meat from the central reserves during the New Year and spring festival. Fourth, we will timely release information about the pork market to provide guidance for balanced supply and demand. Thank you.

Are there any more questions?

If not, this is the end of today’s press conference. Thank you.

(All information published in this website is authentic in Chinese. English is provided for reference only. )