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MOFCOM Regular Press Conference (July 15, 2021)

Gao Feng: Friends from the media, good afternoon. Welcome to MOFCOM’s regular press conference. Since I don’t have any announcement to make, we may proceed directly to the Q&A session. The floor is open.

The Paper: Recently, eight organizations, including the Ministry of Commerce, issued the first batch of 10 national demonstration cities and 94 demonstration enterprises for supply chain innovation and application. What is the significance of this in modernizing the industrial chain and supply chain? How will these cities and enterprises play a leading role in demonstration?

Gao Feng: On the basis of the nationwide pilot program of supply chain innovation and application in the early stage, in order to continue the effective pilot programs and step up the cultivation of advantages, the eight organizations, including the Ministry of Commerce, have recently carried out demonstration work on supply chain innovation and application around key areas and steps such as enhancing innovation capability, promoting coordinated and green development, improving the level of openness and promoting security and stability, so as to further improve the modern supply chain system and modernize China's industrial chain and supply chain.

The demonstration cities and enterprises identified this time will take this as an opportunity to further strengthen exploration and innovation, strive to create a series of new demonstration achievements at higher level and with greater value, and strive to build a modern supply chain system that effectively connects production, supply and marketing as well as domestic and foreign trade, so as to promote efficient and smooth economic circulation and flow of factors. We will summarize the new technologies, new models and good experience and practices explored and shaped by demonstration cities and enterprises in a timely manner, actively roll them out throughout the country, play a leading role, expand the scale of demonstration, and steadily modernize China's supply chain. Thank you.

Phoenix TV: We see that the custom data shows that in the first half of this year, China imported RMB136.01 billion of agricultural produce from the United States, an increase of 120.8% year-on-year. In addition, China imported 15.302 million tons of corn in the first half of the year, an increase of 318.5%. Does this mean that the first-phase economic and trade agreement between China and the United States is still being implemented?

Gao Feng: The first-phase agreement is beneficial to China, the United States and the whole world. We have always stressed that both sides should work together to create the environment and conditions to promote the implementation of the agreement. Thank you.

South China Morning Post: A few days ago, the United States issued the new version of "Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory", calling for urgent attention to the supply chain risks faced by American enterprises, and requiring enterprises and individuals with exposure to entities

Gao Feng: The so-called human rights and forced labor issues in Xinjiang are totally inconsistent with the facts. What the US has done seriously undermines the security and stability of the global industrial chain and supply chain, which does not serve China, the United States and the world economic recovery. China firmly opposes it. Thank you.

CNBC: MOFCOM’s 14th Five-Year Plan mentions “improving the national security review system of foreign investment and conducting security screening on foreign investment that would or could affect national security”, which has caught the attention of many foreign enterprises. What issues should foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) in China pay special attention to as they, for instance, promote and make products? What is MOFCOM’s plan to make sure that more FIEs will be encouraged to develop in China?

Gao Feng: It is an internationally common practice to carry out foreign investment security review. The scope, procedures and other requirements are clearly defined in the Measures for Security Review of Foreign Investment published last December. In light of the principle of necessity and reasonableness, we will review in a precise manner foreign investment that would or could affect national security, while avoiding generalizing the scope of review, to promote and protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors as we avert and diffuse national security risks.

As for foreign investment promotion, our approach to encouraging more FIEs to develop in China will not change. During the 14th Five Year Plan period, MOFCOM will work with relevant authorities to push for opening-up in more areas and in a more thorough fashion. We will fully implement the Foreign Investment Law and its implementation regulations, uphold fair competition, protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors, create a world-class, market-oriented business environment governed by a sound legal framework, and keep enhancing service support for FIEs and foreign-invested projects, so that FIEs can come, stay and flourish. Thank you.

The Cover: MOFCOM recently released the Technical Guideline for Smart Stores (for Trial Implementation). What are the developments of smart shops? What are MOFCOM’s future plans for clicks-and-mortar services?

Gao Feng: Retail businesses in recent years have actively explored the concept of smart stores and achieved a number of outcomes. In general, however, smart shops in China are still a spontaneous initiative in its preliminary stage. Accelerating the development of smart stores will meet consumers’ demand for clicks-and-mortar shopping experience. As new consumption forms and models generated by modern information technologies emerge, consumers’ preference for clicks-and-mortar shopping experience that is targeted, accessible and swift grows rapidly. Building smart stores at a faster pace also satisfies the need to quicken transformation and pursue innovative development in the retail sector. According to our survey on major retail businesses, over 90% of them render it necessary to explore online business, showing that digital and intelligent adaptation as well as clicks-and-mortar services has become a consensus in the industry.

The Technical Guideline for Smart Stores (for Trial Implementation) is a systemic document aiming at accelerating the development of smart stores. It is built upon a summary of successful practices, and takes into consideration future commercial and retail trends, especially that of consumers’ demand.

We hope to advance digital, smart and targeted services so that retail businesses can provide better clicks-and-mortar shopping services. Efforts will be strengthened in the following three aspects: The first is adopting digital technologies in the stores. Bricks-and-mortar retailers will be encouraged to use 5G, the Internet of Things, big data, cloud computing, virtual reality and other new technologies to improve in-store operations and consumer experience. The second is adopting smart technologies in supply chains. New modes such as group purchasing and delivery, unified warehouses and delivery, and consumer-to-manufacturer will be promoted, and flexible and agile supply chains will be developed, to strengthen logistical support and advance reorganization of retail circulation channels. The third is providing targeted services. Digital services including online issuance of cards and vouchers, activity announcement, smart push notification and cross-platform point redemption, to make sure that products sold online and offline meet the same standards and are of the same quality and prices. Besides, enterprises should intensify efforts in information infrastructure, digital marketing, big data application, smart payment and smart office, while strengthening compliance self-review, protecting consumer privacy and accommodating the needs of special groups like seniors and people with disability.

MOFCOM will actively encourage local authorities, relevant business associations and key enterprises to accelerate the development of smart stores, and review and share experience and best practices, so as to achieve early outcomes and meet consumers’ demand. Thank you.

Gao Feng: Do you have any more question? If not, this is the end of today’s press conference. Thank you.

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