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MOFCOM Regular Press Conference (November 25, 2021)

Shu Jueting: Friends from the press, good afternoon. Welcome to the MOFCOM regular press conference. Since I have no announcement to make today, we can proceed directly to the Q&A session.

The floor is open.

The Paper: The twelfth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (MC12) will be held at the end of this month, during which there will be negotiations on the WTO reform and other issues. What’s MOFCOM’s attitude towards MC12? In what areas will we see substantive outcomes?

Shu Jueting: The twelfth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (MC12) will be held in Geneva, Switzerland from November 30 to December 3.

The WTO-centered multilateral trading system is the cornerstone of international trade. MC12 is a major meeting held at a time when economic globalization has come to a critical juncture. With high expectations, all WTO Members are having intensive consultations and making full preparation.

China is willing to work with all other parties to support inclusive development of the multilateral trading system and the legitimate rights and interests of developing members. China will firmly uphold the role of the multilateral trading system as the main channel formulating international rules, actively advance negotiations to achieve positive outcomes in such areas as fisheries subsidies agreement, strengthening international cooperation against Covid-19, agriculture and services domestic regulation, pursue initial progress for the Appellate Body reform e-commerce, investment facilitation and other topics, and make work plans on those issues. Doing so will effectively safeguard the authority and efficacy of the WTO, enabling a greater role of it in world economic recovery and global economic governance. Thank you.

CNR Business Radio: Previously, all parties voiced their support for concluding fisheries subsidies negotiations before MC12. What is the progress of those negotiations?

Shu Jueting: China supports concluding negotiations on fisheries subsidies before MC12 and formulating new subsidies rules as early as possible. Right now, all parties are engaged in intensive negotiations. An agreement on this topic will facilitate sustainable development of marine fisheries; it will also be of great significance to upholding the role of the multilateral trading system as the main channel formulating international rules.

As a developing country and a major fisheries state, China will continue to adopt an active and constructive approach to the negotiations. China will assume international obligations proportionate to its development stage and capacity to push for the conclusion of the negotiations within the agreed time frame. Thank you.

People’s Daily: China has announced the establishment of a comprehensive strategic partnership with ASEAN. Could you please brief us on the China’s trade and investment with ASEAN, especially the highlights and achievements? What are the considerations for future work?

Shu Jueting: On November 22, President Xi Jinping attended and chaired the Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations. At the summit, the leaders announced to elevate China-ASEAN relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. This marks a new milestone in the relations between the two sides.

Over the past 30 years, bilateral trade and economic cooperation as well as economic integration has been deepening, all demonstrating strong vitality. China-ASEAN trade has expanded more than 80 folds, from less than USD8 billion in 1991 to USD684.6 billion in 2020. For 12 years since 2009, China has been ASEAN’s largest trading partner, and in 2020, ASEAN became China’s largest trading partner for the first time. From January to October this year, China-ASEAN trade reached USD703.3 billion, up 30% year-on-year, predicating a record high for the whole year. Two-way investment cooperation has continued to flourish. China is a major source of foreign investment of ASEAN, and vice versa; so far, two-way investment between the two sides has amounted to around USD300 billion. Through joint efforts, a batch of profitable and exemplar cooperation projects that improve well-being and facilitate connectivity have been implemented, contributing to economic prosperity and social progress in the region.

In the next step, we will work with ASEAN to implement the important consensus of our leaders on the trade and economic front. We will work toward a new round of upgrade of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, jointly forge inclusive, modern, all-round and mutually beneficial China-ASEAN trade and economic ties, and do our part in building a closer community with a shared future for China and ASEAN. Thank you.

CNBC: The US Department of Commerce announced on the 24th that 12 Chinese companies were included in the “entity list” for contradiction to US national security or diplomatic policy interests. What’s MOFCOM’s comment on this?

Shu Jueting: The list of sanction entities newly issued by the US Department of Commerce goes against the consensus reached between Chinese and US presidents, violates the interests of the two countries and is harmful to security of global industrial and supply chains and world economic recovery. The US generalized the concept of national security and impose at will sanction measures that are evidentially groundless and procedurally non-transparent. China expresses its strong protest against this move and will make serious representations to the US. Thank you.

CMG: All sides are highly concerned about the 12th Ministerial Conference of the WTO to be held at the end of this month four years after the last one. What core issues will be addressed in this conference? What’s China’s stance on issues such as the Appellate Body reform?

Shu Jueting: At present, WTO members are having intensive consultations on and strive to achieve outcomes of the MC12. Members will also discuss the direction of the WTO reform and its work priorities at this conference.

With respect to the Appellate Body, China supports the start of the selection process as soon as possible to restore the normal operation of the WTO dispute settlement mechanism. Thank you.

The Cover: The 12th Ministerial Conference of the WTO is to be held soon. How does the negotiation on IPR waiver of Covid vaccines go?

Shu Jueting: Over the year, WTO members have been negotiating on the partial waiver of IPR related to medical supplies to combat the virus, including Covid-19 vaccines. All members hope to reach consensus as soon as possible to find solutions.

President Xi Jinping has announced that China supports the IPR waiver of Covid-19 vaccines and the early decision on this matter by the WTO. China has always been committed to improving the accessibility and affordability of vaccines and other medical supplies in the developing members.

China will continue to play a constructive role in negotiations on this issue and try its best to push for substantive progress. China strives to achieve results at this MC12 and continues to contribute its share to global pandemic response. Thank you.

The Phoenix: China has downgraded the diplomatic relations with Lithuania to the level of charge d'affaires over Lithuania’s act of allowing the Taiwan authorities to set up a “Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania”, which openly created the false impression of “one China, one Taiwan” in the world. How will it directly impact the trade and economic cooperation between the two countries?

Shu Jueting: Lithuania’s act has seriously affected the confidence of mutually beneficial cooperation between enterprises of the two countries. Lithuania must bear all the ensuing consequences of its act . We urge Lithuania to immediately correct the wrong decision and earnestly fulfill the commitment to adhering to the one-China principle to create favorable conditions for bilateral trade and economic cooperation. Thank you.

Red Star News: Specifications for livestream e-commerce have been under heated discussion recently. How will MOFCOM strengthen standard establishment in this industry? MOFCOM has previously solicited opinions on Livestream E-Commerce Platform Management and Service Specifications (Exposure Draft). How is it going?

Shu Jueting: MOFCOM will continue to strengthen standard establishment for new business types and models in the e-commerce industry. We are currently revising the Livestream E-Commerce Platform Management and Service Specifications based on collected opinions. We will speed up its revision while conforming to procedural requirements. MOFCOM will continue to guide e-commerce market entities in the implementation of rules and regulations and norms, such as the E-Commerce Law and Measures for the Administration of Livestream Marketing (Trial) to fulfill their responsibilities, and maintain an orderly e-commerce market. Thank you.

China Securities Journal: MOFCOM previously announced that it has been working on the 2021 negative list for foreign investment access that will be further shortened. How is it going now? When will the new version be released?

Shu Jueting: Following the deployment of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, MOFCOM and NDRC are working together to further shorten and revise the national and FTZ negative lists for foreign investment access. We are currently stepping up the work. Thank you.

Shu Jueting: Any more questions? If there are no more questions, 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.)