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MOFCOM Regular Press Conference (January 13, 2022)

Shu Jueting: Members of the press, good afternoon, welcome to MOFCOM regular press conference. First of all, let me share with you the following information.

First, China’s FDI in 2021.

In 2021, based on the arrangements to keep the six fronts stable, guarantee the six priorities and maintain overall stability of foreign investment and foreign trade, the Ministry of Commerce, together with the localities and relevant departments, made solid efforts to keep foreign investment stable, successfully accomplished the task of keeping foreign investment stable throughout the year, reporting better results than expected. China’s FDI in 2021 has the following features:

First, FDI in China registered a double-digit growth. In 2021, the paid-in FDI in China was RMB1.14936 trillion, a year-on-year increase of 14.9% (equivalent to USD173.48 billion, a year-on-year increase of 20.2%, excluding banking, securities and insurance, same below). FDI in China reached another record high.

Second, FDI in high-tech industries and services increased rapidly. The paid-in FDI for hi-tech industries increased by 17.1%, among which high-tech manufacturing increased by 10.7% and high-tech services by 19.2%. The paid-in FDI for services was RMB906.49 billion, up 16.7% YoY.

Third, the FDI of BRI countries and ASEAN increased rapidly, with the paid-in investment increasing by 29.4% and 29% year-on-year respectively (including investment via free ports), higher than the growth of FDI nationwide.

Fourth, FDI in eastern, central and western China achieved an all-round growth, increasing by 14.6%, 20.5% and 14.2% respectively.

So much for the briefing. Now I’d like to take your questions. The floor is open.

China Business News: On January 1, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) came into effect. Many companies have obtained the Certificate of Origin and started to enjoy tariff incentives. In the next step, what measures will the Ministry of Commerce take to promote the development of foreign trade enterprises under RCEP?

Shu Jueting: We are glad to see that, since RCEP came into effect on January 1, many companies have enjoyed the preferential tariff rates under the agreement and the policy dividend by applying for the Certificate of Origin and the independent declaration of origin. The localities actively align with RCEP based on local advantages and features, and study and introduce policies, measures and action plans to implement the agreement. Some localities have also taken targeted measures to strengthen the supply of public services, built an online platform for business services, and continued to promote training on RCEP.

In order to help companies make better use of RCEP, the Ministry of Commerce, together with relevant departments, will continue to provide guidance and services, and strengthen training for businesses, especially for Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) and central and western regions. We will continue to improve the functions of the China FTA service website, and provide timely and high-quality information and consulting services for businesses. At the same time, we will further guide localities in further connecting local development and RCEP, identify opportunities brought by RCEP, and help enterprises improve their abilities to participate in cooperation and competition in a broader international environment for better development. Thank you.

China Daily: Foreign trade will face pressure in the next year. What measures will be taken to further promote the development of new business forms and models of foreign trade and create new growth areas?

Shu Jueting: In recent years, the new business forms of China's foreign trade have developed vigorously, with continuous innovation. Cross-border e-commerce has grown by nearly tenfold in five years, and continued to maintain a double-digit growth in 2021. The scale of market procurement has increased five times in six years. In 2021, export volume reached a record high. There are over 1,500 comprehensive foreign trade service enterprises and the number of overseas warehouses exceeds 2,000. About 130 bonded maintenance projects under processing trade have been completed. Offshore trade developed steadily. The new business forms and models have become a new driver for the transformation and upgrading and high-quality development of foreign trade.

In the next step, in accordance with the requirements of the Opinions of the General Office of the State Council on Accelerating the Development of New Forms and Models of Foreign Trade, the Ministry of Commerce will continue to improve the policy system, create a sound environment and improve services by focusing on the following aspects: First, effectively promoting integrated pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce, and working with relevant departments to expand a number of new integrated pilot zones. Second, improving trade facilitation of market procurement and the dynamic adjustment mechanism of pilot programs on market procurement trade. Third, cultivating a number of quality overseas warehouse companies, and improving a overseas warehouse network that can offer convenient service to various trade markets. Fourth, steadily promoting the development of comprehensive foreign trade service enterprises, bonded maintenance and offshore trade. Thank you.

South China Morning Post: The phase I deal between China and the US expired on December 31st last year. It is reported by the US media that China failed to deliver the target in full regarding the purchase of American goods and services. What’s the comment of MOFCOM? Have the two trade teams discussed the follow-up of the phase I deal or the negotiation of a phase II deal?

Shu Jueting: The phase I deal benefits China and the US and the whole world. Since it entered into force, China has been working on joint implementation despite the impact of Covid-19, global economic recession, and supply chain disruptions. China-US trade and economic relations are win-win in nature. We hope the US can create a sound atmosphere and conditions for expanded trade with China.

The two trade teams are in normal communication. We will keep you updated. Thank you.

CNR: The 2022 Online Lunar Year’s Shopping Festival has launched. What’s unique about this year’s festival? What measures will be taken to ensure epidemic control and safety during delivery of goods?

Shu Jueting: The 2022 Online Lunar Year’s Shopping Festival, held under the auspices of the Ministry of Commerce, the central cyberspace administration, the MIIT, SAMR, State Post Bureau, China Consumer Association, was launched on January 10, and will last a month until February 7.

The festival aims to promote consumption during the Spring Festival while ensuring epidemic safety, so that people can enjoy a safe, healthy, and joyful Spring Festival. The highlights of the festival include:

First, we will ensure supply to meet the festive needs. Considering the great variety and large quantity of goods and services demand during the Spring Festival, e-commerce platforms are encouraged to provide more customized, smart, green and high-quality products in addition to ensuring the supply of daily necessities and anti-covid supplies, as well as set meals and customized New Year’s eve dinner and literature and video and other digital products to cater to different needs.

Second, we will promote products from SCO members to strengthen regional cooperation. During the Shopping Festival, MOFCOM will hold livestreaming events for specialty products from SCO members. On e-commerce platforms in Qingdao, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Fujian and Zhejiang, we will promote over 1,500 categories of unique products from the SCO members. We will also invite the SCO Under-Secretary and diplomatic envoys to record videos and visit live-streaming studios to promote the products of their home country in the Chinese market.

Third, we will foster new types of consumption and promote consumption upgrading. Different provinces will scale up the supply of branded and quality products to meet the diversified need for quality products. For example, Fujian province will work with platforms to build “Fu” brands for tea, alcohol, and cuisines, indicating good luck; Shanghai has guided the collaboration between e-commerce platforms and time-honored brands and emerging online brands, to hold product debut for the Year of Tiger; Jiangsu will hold consumption promotion events, including dozens of provincial-level consumption promotion events, hundreds of city-themed brand events, and thousands of retailers’ promotional events.

Fourth, we will promote agricultural products on e-commerce platforms. The shopping festival provides an opportunity for different localities to extend e-commerce services to the rural areas and promote the sales of agricultural products. For example, Zhejiang has opened a dedicated section on major e-commerce platforms for agricultural goods from its counties, in an effort to build a brand of specialty goods from the mountainous areas; Guangxi has also set up an agricultural section on e-commerce platforms and provides subsidies to the sales of agricultural products with geographical indications.

To ensure logistics delivery during the shopping festival, businesses involved should take the main responsibilities for epidemic control while we provide guidance, strengthen personnel protection and daily monitoring, adopt standard practices in warehousing, sorting, and delivery of goods, especially by strictly implementing whole-process epidemic control along cold chains. We believe these steps will effectively help with epidemic control. Thank you.

STCN: Recently, Beijing, Shanghai, among other localities published their foreign investment attraction projects for 2021. A number of new foreign investment projects were initiated. What measures will MOFOCOM take to stabilize foreign investment for the year of 2022?

Shu Jueting: In 2022, MOFCOM will earnestly follow the instructions of the Central Economic Work Conference, and maintain stability on six fronts and ensure security in six areas. With the focus on stabilizing the fundamentals of foreign trade and foreign investment, we will channel more efforts to stabilize total FDI inflows into China, and improve the structure and quality of inbound FDI. Specifically, we will work in the following aspects:

First, open up wider at a high level. We will see to it that the 2021 edition of negative lists for foreign investment nationwide and for pilot Free Trade Zones are fully implemented, step up efforts to formulate, revise and abolish supporting regulations as needed, and ensure that foreign investment not prohibited can have access to the Chinese market. We will revise and enlarge the encouraged industry catalogue to guide more foreign investors to invest in the central and western regions and in emerging sectors, such as advanced manufacturing, modern services, high and new technology, energy conservation and environmental protection, green and low-carbon development and digital economy.

Second, mobilize more efforts to develop platforms for opening-up. We will leverage the platforms provided by the free trade port, pilot Free Trade Zones, national economic and technological development zones, and comprehensive pilot zones of expanding opening-up of the service sector to attract more foreign investment with our favorable business environment and institutional strengths. We will continue to organize major trade exhibitions, including the China International Import Expo, the Canton Fair, the China International Fair for Trade in Services, the Hainan Expo and the China International Fair for Investment and Trade, so as to ramp up efforts to attract foreign investment.

Third, strengthen services for foreign-invested enterprises and foreign investment projects. We will support the role of foreign trade and investment coordination mechanism and its task forces of key foreign investment projects, improve the “through train” one-on-one tracking services for key foreign-invested enterprises and projects, and help to address personnel entry and other issues of companies’ concern. We will work with relevant departments to offer supporting services to large new projects in a bid for their early construction and implementation.

Fourth, further improve the environment to attract foreign investment. We will comprehensively remove all rules inconsistent with the foreign investment law and its implementing regulations, and ensure fair treatment for foreign-invested enterprises. We will fully leverage the mechanism of handling FIEs’ complaints, step up protection for FIEs’ lawful rights and interests, and maintain foreign investors’ expectations and confidence in investing in China. We will stay committed to building a market-oriented and law-based business environment that’s up to international standard, so that China can remain a hot destination for foreign investment. Thank you.

Cover News: In the face of the sudden COVID outbreak in Tianjin, could you brief us on the supply of daily necessities of the city? As the Spring Festival is approaching, what measures will MOFCOM take to ensure sufficient supply in the regions with COVID infections, including Tianjin, Shaanxi and Henan?

Shu Jueting: Recently, in the face of sporadic outbreaks in some parts of the country, it is paramount to ensure sufficient market supply as people are buying more to celebrate the upcoming Spring Festival. MOFCOM has earnestly followed the instructions by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, and set out plans for guaranteeing market supply.

First, intensify efforts to expand sourcing channels. The COVID infected areas have adopted measures to guarantee sourcing channels, unimpeded logistics and sufficient market supply, so that the basic living needs of consumers can be satisfied. For the outbreak in Tianjin and the city’s goods supply, we have coordinated the commercial department of Shandong Province to help Tianjin partner with Shandong Shouguang Vegetable Base to guarantee Tianjin’s supply of vegetables.

Second, focus on market supply in the affected areas. We have instructed Shaanxi, Henan and Tianjin to work with nearby provinces or cities in a targeted manner to ensure supply of daily necessities. Since the outbreak struck Xi’an, MOFCOM immediately coordinated six provinces to establish a joint mechanism covering Anhui, Shandong, Guangxi, Hainan, Sichuan and Yunnan to ensure goods supply of Shaanxi. These six provinces have arranged intra-provincial transportation of daily goods and been braced for emergency response. We have also organized relevant companies to increase supply of staple food, edible oil, meat, egg, fruits and vegetables, among other daily necessities for Henan and Tianjin. Reserves of these products reached 3080 tons (rice and flour), 14,696 tons (edible oil), 7,515 tons (diary products), 708 tons (drinking water) and 56 tons (canned food).

Third, step up guidance for the work of ensuring supply. We have guided Shaanxi, Henan and Tianjin to, on top of their local conditions, learn from the good practices in COVID response and take effective measures to address the difficulties in the re-opening of retail stores and end deliveries.

Fourth, strengthen monitoring of market supply. We have paid special attention to the market supply and price trajectory of daily goods in the COVID struck areas, based on which we have conducted analysis, predictions and early warnings.

Our initial survey suggests that dynamic inventories of vegetables, staple food and edible oil in Tianjin’s wholesale markets and supermarkets are generally sufficient. Specifically, over 3,000 tons daily supplies sitting in the inventory can be allocated when needed in the southern part of the city, which is enough to meet the needs of areas in lock downs and control. Market supply and prices of daily goods in Henan remain stable. Wholesale trading of daily necessities in Shaanxi is relatively steady, with wholesale prices of major storable vegetables posting moderate decline.

We will keep tracking the development of these outbreaks and the changes of market supply, work with relevant departments and localities to take targeted measures to address any new problems or situations arising from the pandemic, so that market supply in the affected areas can remain stable. Thank you.

Reuters: According to the China-U.S. Phase One agreement, China is supposed to purchase US$200 billion worth of U.S. goods in 2020-2021. How has that been carried out? Have the Chinese and U.S. teams made any assessment? What are future trade and economic arrangements?

Shu Jueting: I have responded to questions on the Phase One agreement. At present, the trade and economic teams from both sides are in normal contact. We will release any further information in time. Thank you.

CNR: China’s trade in services continued to maintain rapid growth from January to November last year. What is the driver for the steady growth of China’s trade in knowledge-intensive services? Will this momentum be sustained in 2022?

Shu Jueting: In recent years, China’s trade in knowledge-intensive services has maintained steady growth. From January to November 2021, the total trade reached RMB2042.8 billion, up 13.5% year-on-year, with export and import rising by 18.1% and 8.3% respectively. This steady growth was mainly attributable to three factors:

First, significantly increasing international competitiveness. The swift development of China’s emerging service sectors and significant increase in quality and efficiency of services delivery, as well as export competitiveness, have laid a solid foundation for injected impetus into knowledge-intensive trade growth. From January to November 2021, the export of telecommunication, computer and information services, charges for the use of intellectual property, and other business services rose by 23.3%, 29.3%, and 14.2% respectively.

Second, massive digitization demand arising from rapid development of digital technologies. Online delivery and online sales, including audiovisual, medical, education, and online retailing services, have seen a surge. From January to November 2021, the import and export of personal cultural and recreational services increased by 11.8%; Thanks to the massive adoption of digital payment, the trade of financial and insurance services jumped by 30.3% and 8.2% respectively.

Third, new momentum from larger-scale reform and opening-up in the service sector. Steady progress was seen in the pilot program of all-round innovative development of the services sector, with 110 out of the 122 specific measures, or more than 90% of the total, have been implemented; policies have been rolled out to support outsourcing and high-quality development of bases for featured services export, and international cooperation on services trade has been deepening; foreign investment access to the service sector has been expanding, China’s market environment has been improving, and its super-sized domestic market has been playing a bigger role.

In 2022, the international landscape for China’s service trade development will continue to be complex and challenging, with numerous uncertainties and instabilities. Meanwhile, the overall trend remains unchanged, including higher-level opening-up of the service sector, faster digitization, and sound and stable development of trade in services such as knowledge-intensive types. In the next step, we will steadily progress with the implementation of the Plan for the Development of Trade in Services during the 14th Five-Year Plan Period, accelerate institutional opening-up, build national demonstration zones for the innovative development of trade in services and demonstration zones of digital trade, continue to hold successful CIFTIS sessions, and improve international cooperation and promotion mechanisms, so as to advance openness, innovation, and high-quality development. Thank you.

The Paper: The 2022 Online Lunar Year’s Shopping Festival was launched on January 10. What events will be held? What discounts will people enjoy? And what regulations and guidance will MOFCOM provide for e-commerce platforms and other businesses?

Shu Jueting: Just now, I have given an overview of the Lunar Year’s Shopping Festival. During the celebration, local authorities will hold a variety of matching events, including Qingdao’s SCO specialties e-commerce event, Liaoning’s 5G-empowered e-commerce live stream shopping festival, Xiamen’s cross-strait live streamer contest, and relevant shopping events of Fujian, Shanghai, Anhui, Guangdong and Guangxi with prominent local characteristics, to name a few.

As for discounts, there are also many to be found. Focusing on food, home, transportation, travel, entertainment and shopping, some local authorities and companies have been strengthening sales, promotion and services through various means. For instance, using government budgets, Fujian, Yunnan and Guangxi have coupons worth tens of millions of yuan for online promotion. Guangxi also launched car sales combining online promotion and on-site tryout. Participating platforms will also increase input, deliver real discounts and truly benefit consumers, through product debut, trade-in, flash sale and direct price cuts.

During the fest, MOFCOM will work with other instructing authorities under their mandates to step up supervision and guidance in terms of product quality, business environment, order of business, and delivery service, to protect the lawful rights and interests of consumers in an all-out effort. Thank you.

Shu Jueting: This is the end of today’s press conference. Thank you.



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