Dear friends from the press, good afternoon! Welcome to today’s press conference. With no announcements to make today, I’d like to take your questions. The floor is open.
CCTV: The Eighth China-Japan-ROK Leaders' Meeting was held in Chengdu on December 24. What are the economic and trade outcomes of the Meeting?
At the Eighth China-Japan-ROK Leaders’ Meeting, the leaders of the three countries have held broad and in-depth discussions on deepening and expanding trade and economic cooperation, and reached a number of consensuses.
First, as major economies of East Asia, the three countries will fully leverage their competitive advantages in different industries, enhance trade and investment cooperation between them and drive respective development through deepening cooperation. They will work together to advance regional economic integration to contribute to economic growth within the region and the world at large. Second, the three countries will speed up the negotiations of China-Japan-ROK FTA and RCEP, strive to reach a modern, comprehensive, high-level and mutually beneficial trilateral free trade agreement based on commercially substantive progress in relevant areas in RCEP negotiations. Third, the three countries will work together to build an open and inclusive world economy, oppose protectionism, uphold multilateral trading system and strengthen cooperation under multilateral frameworks of APEC and G20. Fourth, the three countries will enhance connectivity cooperation based on the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, deepen cooperation at local level, explore cooperation in the “China-Japan-ROK+X” fourth-party market, and continue to expand cooperation in such areas as health care, elderly care, environmental protection, energy and e-commerce.
We are willing to join hands with the ROK and Japan to implement the consensuses by our leaders, further promote trade and investment cooperation between the three countries, deepen our mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas, and make greater contributions to the prosperity and stability of East Asia and the world at large. Thank you.
Phoenix: My question is about China-US trade talks. We’ve noted that recently the US said China and the US would soon sign the phase 1 deal. How does China comment on that? Have the two countries reached agreement on when and where to sign the deal?
Currently China and the US are undergoing necessary procedures including legal scrubbing and translation proofreading, and the two sides are in close contact on matters related to the signing of the agreement. We will keep you updated. Thank you.
China News: On December 20th, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 was signed into law in the US, which includes a number of provisions against Chinese companies. How does China comment on that?
We have noted that the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 was signed into law, which includes a number of provisions adverse to Chinese companies. China firmly opposes the Bill.
China believes that certain provisions of the Bill, namely restrictions on purchasing Chinese products and stricter export control on Chinese companies exemplify state interventions in normal business operation, which goes against the fair, equal and free trade proclaimed by the US, undermines international trade and economic order, and endangers the global industrial chains. We urge the US to respect market-based principles, abandon political bias and the outdated mindset of zero-sum game, stop wrong actions and create favorable conditions for normal trade and economic cooperation between companies of the two sides. China will watch closely how Chinese companies will be affected by the implementation of the Bill, and take every necessary measure to safeguard the lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies. Thank you.
Xinhua News Agency: The Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council recently released a notice that tariffs of some products will be adjusted from January 1 next year. How will the adjustment reflect China’s endeavor to promote high-quality development of trade? What are the impacts of the adjustment on imports of next year?
Cutting import tariffs is a concrete step of China to expand opening-up, which will enhance the imports of relevant premium products.
Expanding imports is an integral part of our efforts to promote high-quality trade development. Lower tariffs will facilitate trade development that is more balanced, coordinated, and sustainable, and support coordinated development of trade and industries. We will continue to take measures to promote the orderly and free flow of international and domestic factors, the efficient allocation of resources, so as to push for the deeper integration between domestic and foreign markets. Thank you.
CRI: Last week, MOFCOM announced the outbound investment figures for the first 11 months of 2019, which reported a decrease of 1.2%. Such decrease is rarely seen since the beginning of this year. What is the figure for November and what is your expectation of outbound investment for 2020?
Multiple factors are at play for the fluctuations in our outbound investment (ODI). This is a normal trade and investment phenomenon. In general, China’s ODI structure has been optimized as the domestic supply-side structural reform forges ahead. For instance, for the first 11 months of this year, the share of China’s outbound investment in B&R countries and regions in the total outbound investment was up by 0.5 percentage points compared to the same period of last year; the proportions of investment in manufacturing and wholesale and retailing increased by 2 and 2.7 percentage points respectively; the investment in real estate, sports and entertainment has plateaued. Our ODI investors have become more rational and prudential and placed more focus on the quality and returns of investment. China’s ODI is expected to enjoy stable and sound development in the future.
We will keep encouraging and guiding competitive and reputable Chinese companies to go global at a steady pace, engage in international competition and cooperation, and align themselves with international standards, in a bid to pursue common development with host countries and their peoples. Thank you.
21st Century Business Herald: Regarding expanding imports, we see that the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council has again cut import duties. What are MOFCOM’s considerations for expanding imports?
Gao Feng: Further reductions in import duties will cut import costs and unleash import potentials to meet domestic consumer demand for premium products. We’ll work on the following areas to actively expand imports.
First, we’ll foster a batch of innovative demonstration zones for import trade promotion. We’ll leverage policy advantages and encourage innovative regulation regimes, service functions, and transaction models, to promote innovative platforms for imports through developing imports distribution centers with spillover effect for growing radiation effect of the demonstration zones.
Second, we’ll further enhance trade facilitation. We’ll actively push for the comprehensive implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement. With 96.2% of the Agreement enforced so far, the remaining measures will be implemented by Feb. 22nd, 2020 to further boost trade facilitation.
Third, we’ll further amplify the promotion effect of the CIIE platform. At present, preparations for the third CIIE are proceeding in an intensive yet orderly manner. Over 300 companies have registered for participation in an exhibition area of over 100,000 m2.
In brief, the Chinese market will continue to expand open-up. We welcome more quality foreign products and services into the Chinese market to better meet domestic demand for consumption trade-up. Thank you.
Shanghai Securities News: What has MOFCOM achieved in promoting quality Belt and Road and trade liberalization and facilitation between China and Latin America? What measures will you implement moving forward?
Gao Feng: Latin America and the Caribbean are a natural extension of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and key participants in the Belt and Road. So far, China has signed 19 BRI cooperation documents with 19 LAC countries. Enjoying strong economic complementarities, China and LAC countries have continuously raised the level of economic and trade cooperation in recent years with fruitful results and huge development potentials in BRI. China-LAC trade continues to grow. From Jan. to Nov. 2019, China-LAC trade reached USD 286.83 billion, up by 1.8% year-on-year. In breakdown, Chinese exports totaled USD 136.48 billion, up by 0.2% year-on-year; Chinese imports stood at USD 150.35 billion, up by 3.4% year-on-year. Two-way investment keeps expanding, with LAC as our second largest destination for outbound investment. As of last Nov., China’s direct investment stock in LAC had exceeded USD 410 billion, whereas LAC had actual investment of USD 220 billion in China, with investment in 33188 businesses in China.
In recent years, trade and investment liberalization and facilitation between China and LAC have risen significantly. First, FTA development has accelerated. The upgraded China-Chile FTA officially came into effect on Mar. 1st this year. Negotiations for an upgraded FTA with Peru are underway. China’s FTA with Costa Rica is being implemented smoothly. Second, trade and investment promotion platforms are working effectively. LAC countries are active participants of the CIIE, bringing more advantageous LAC products to the Chinese market. China-LAC Infrastructure Cooperation Forum is held in Macao every year, promoting an active role of Chinese business in LAC infrastructure connectivity. Third, intergovernmental economic and trade cooperation mechanisms keep improving. In recent years, we’ve held bilateral mixed committee meetings with the economic and trade authorities of several LAC countries, advancing practical cooperation in trade, investment, e-commerce and infrastructure. Working groups on unimpeded trade and investment cooperation have been established with our counterparts of some countries to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.
Moving forward, we will continue to leverage China-LAC intergovernmental cooperation mechanisms and trade and investment promotion platforms, continuously enhance FTA development and cooperation standards, and accelerate the upgrade of our economic and trade cooperation to drive forward the continuous development of our comprehensive partnership. Thank you.
Gao Feng: Any further questions? If not, this concludes today’s press conference. Thank you.