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MOFCOM Regular Press Conference (December 29, 2022)

Shu Jueting: Friends from the media, good afternoon. Welcome to the regular press conference of MOFCOM. Since I have no announcement to make today, I’d like to take your questions.

The floor is open.

Economic Information Daily: The Central Economic Work Conference held recently put expanding domestic demand at the top of next year’s economic agenda and highlighted prioritizing consumption recovery and growth. What specific plans will MOFCOM make? And what will MOFCOM do to ensure supply and promote consumption during the coming holidays of the New Year and the Spring Festival?

Shu Jueting: On your first question, MOFCOM will conscientiously implement the requirements of the Central Economic Work Conference and take proactive measures in collaboration with relevant ministries to restore and expand consumption and continuously strengthen the fundamental role of consumption in economic development.

First, we will reinforce and upgrade traditional consumption. Automobiles, home appliances, domestic decoration, and food and drink, which account for about a quarter of the total retail sales of consumer goods, are the main pillars of consumption. We will work to stabilize car consumption by supporting the sales and use of NEVs and vitalizing the used car market. We will support the resumption and growth of food and drink industry, and spur consumption of home appliances and domestic decorations. We will promote the programs of bringing green and smart home appliances to rural areas and replacing used goods with new ones.

Second, we will speed up new type of consumption. From January to November this year, online sales of physical goods accounted for 27.1% of the total retail sales of consumer goods. Next, we will facilitate the development of new business forms and new models in a sound and orderly manner, boost digitization of life service industry and promote online and offline integration. We will promote green, smart and healthy consumption to adapt to the trend of consumption upgrade, develop first-store and first-launch economy, create more new consumption scenarios and unleash fresh consumption vitality.

Third, we will optimize the consumption platforms. In cities, we will accelerate the fostering of international consumption hubs, and continue to upgrade pedestrian streets. We will create exemplary smart shopping districts and smart stores to better meet diverse demands. We will speed up development of the 15-minute community life circles to make residents’ life easier. In rural areas, we will move faster with the development of county-level commerce systems and increase people’s income and consumption in rural areas. In addition, we will organize a series of consumption promotion activities to pool strength, boost business and promote sustained recovery of consumption.

As to your second question, the New Year and lunar New Year are important festivals in China and often the peak season for consumption. MOFCOM will work to ensure adequate market supply and promote consumption during the festivals. First, we will enhance market monitoring. We will closely watch the market dynamics by launching the daily monitoring scheme for daily necessities during the festivals. Second, we will play a coordinating role in securing supplies. We will guide sub-national governments as they work to match the backbone suppliers and the supply bases, expand supply sources and distribution channels, and increase the stock and varieties of goods to meet the demands during the festivals. Third, we will adjust government reserves. To increase market supply, we will urge big northern cities to implement the plan for winter and spring vegetable reserves, guide local governments in releasing meat and vegetable reserves. Fourth, we will improve public services. We will ask e-commerce platforms and delivery companies to draft plans for workers rotations to ensure normal functioning of their business. We encourage major stores and supermarkets to extend opening hours to meet consumer demand. Fifth, we will organize consumption promotion activities. We will provide guidance to various consumption promotion activities online and offline to create a festive atmosphere. Thank you.

The Cover: It’s been almost a year since the RCEP entered into force. How’s the interaction between China and other RCEP members in the past year? What’s the plan for further opening up of the rules, regulations, management, and standards to fully unlock the dividends of RCEP?

Shu Jueting: Since the RCEP entered into force on January 1, 2022, MOFCOM has worked with related authorities to advance its sound implementation. We have guided and supported sub-national governments, industries, and businesses as they take advantage of the preferential policies brought by the RCEP, such as market access commitments. Trade between China and other RCEP members have grown steadily and rapidly. Customs statistics show that import and export between China and other RCEP members reached RMB11.8 trillion in the first 11 months of this year, up by 7.9%, accounting for 30.7% of the total import and export. Specifically, China’s exports to other RCEP members reached RMB6 trillion, up by 17.7%, beating the national average by 5.8 percentage points. As the agreement continues to be implemented, it will play a greater role in driving regional trade and investment.

Going forward, MOFCOM will continue to work with other authorities to advance the high-quality implementation of the RCEP, guide sub-national governments, industries, and businesses in making full use of the agreement to improve its overall utilization. We will build on the RCEP and conclude more FTAs with our trading partners, as we move to expand a high-standard FTA network open to the world. We will continue to promote market openness for goods, services and investment, actively engage in negotiations on new rules regarding the digital economy, environmental protection, etc, and steadily expand institutional opening-up of rules, regulations, management, and standards. We will contribute further to the creation of the new development paradigm and high-quality development. Thank you.

CGTN: The 2023 Online Lunar New Year’s Shopping Festival will be unveiled soon. Could you brief us on the highlights and features of this year’s Shopping Festival?

The 2023 Online Lunar New Year’s Shopping Festival will last from December 30, 2022 to January 28, 2023. The Shopping Festival has been held for three years in a row by MOFCOM and relevant departments, with a view to satisfying people’s aspiration for a better life and their purchase needs during the holiday, so that they can have a happy Chinese New Year. Currently, local authorities are guiding e-commerce platforms, producers and logistics companies to design supporting events for the Shopping Festival. This year, the Festival has three features:

First, this year, the Shopping Festival covers both the New Year holiday and the Spring Festival, a delightful coincidence which boosts an air of festivity, and benefits both consumers and businesses. Consumers may have more spare time to compare and select products to get the best deals; whereas businesses may set up timetables for sales promotion events and plans for key product categories, so as to fully unleash online consumption vitality.

Second, the setting of the main and sub venues fully reflects coordination between different localities. We have selected Guangdong as the main venue for the Shopping Festival, where major e-commerce platforms will launch and present their products. Sub venues across the country will also hold supporting events with distinctive features. For example, Guangxi will hold the “New Silk Road New Year E-Commerce Festival Gala”, to provide consumers with new consumption scenarios with characteristics of ethnic minorities; Beijing will launch “Taste in Beijing”, “Drama in Beijing” and other segments, combining online and on-site activities to promote consumption; Liaoning has designed various e-commerce promotion events, including Liaoning e-commerce live streaming events. With concerted actions, we aim to bring diverse online promotion events to consumers.

Third, active participation by market players makes sales promotion more innovative. Guided by MOFCOM and other relevant departments, and mobilized by local authorities, businesses have offered discounts to consumers and come up with various promotion plans to enhance consumers’ online shopping experience, including putting forward the theme of “New Year Gala”, focusing on the quality of “credibility”, exploring a “30-minute online service circle”, and hosting special sessions for “digital commerce for agriculture” and online market fairs, to name but a few. We believe that these events will better satisfy public expectations for the Spring Festival. Thank you.

China News Agency: Recently, MOFCOM and other related authorities has published several measures supporting national economic and technological development zones (NETDZs) in innovation and upgrading to better play their roles as demonstration projects. What’s the context and considerations for this document? What steps will MOFCOM take in this regard?

Shu Jueting: NETDZs are a creation in China’s reform and opening-up initiative. After 40 years, NETDZs have grown into clusters of advanced manufacturing businesses and engines driving regional economic growth. The 230 NETDZs make up around 1/10 of regional output and 1/5 of industrial added value, import and export, and paid-in FDI with only 3/1,000 of the country’s territory. They have made significant contribution to China’s reform, opening-up and modernization.

To fully implement the essence of the 20th CPC National Congress, focus on the real economy in promoting economic development and let NETDZs be pioneers of opening-up, MOFCOM and other nine authorities have jointly published the Circular on Several Measures Supporting NETDZs in Innovation and Upgrading to Improve Demonstration Effects. Aiming at removing the bottleneck of resource factors, such as funding, land and talent, for the manufacturing sector, the Circular puts forward 14 supportive measures, including more investment promotion input, better environmental assessment procedures, sufficient supply of land, cultivation of industry clusters and establishment of logistical safeguard mechanisms, under four themes, namely increasing investment promotion support, reinforcing supply of factors for manufacturing projects, improving quality and efficiency of manufacturing and ensuring industrial and supply chain stability. These measures will help NETDZs, especially those ranking top in their respective regional evaluations, become useful examples in maintaining and expanding investment in manufacturing and in stabilizing industrial and supply chains.

Going forward, MOFCOM will lead the initiative and work with related authorities and local governments to implement these measures, to give full play to the industry clusters, technological innovation capacity and favorable business environment in NETDZs. Our focus will be the following: First, growing a high-quality manufacturing sector. With interdepartmental and inter-provincial coordination, we will increase support for advanced manufacturing projects in NETDZs in terms of factors of production, facilitate the extension, reinforcement and improvement of industrial chains, advance implementation of iconic foreign-invested projects, and support quantity and quality improvement of competitive sectors. Second, developing a higher-level open economy. We will make good use of exhibitions and platforms including the CIIE, the CIFIT and Expo Central China to increase investment in NETDZs, promote businesses activities along industrial chains and encourage establishment of foreign-invested R&D centers, as well as headquarters and functioning departments of multinationals in NETDZs, to build them into new platforms for international cooperation. Third, accelerating development of the green, low-carbon and circular economy. We will encourage low-carbon transition, energy conservation and emissions reduction via eco-friendly transformation and upgrading, and support NETDZs in building ecological demonstration zones (ecological industrial parks). Fourth, promoting coordinated regional development. We will provide differentiated guidance, help NETDZs in eastern, central and western regions strengthen coordination in development planning, operation and management, business promotion and human resources to achieve orderly relocation of industries. Thank you.

Shu Jueting: Do you have any more questions? If not, I would like to conclude today’s press conference. In two days, we will be ushering in the year 2023. Here, I would like to thank our friends from the press for your great support over the past year. I look forward to your continued attention to and support for China’s commerce work. Wish you all a happy New Year!

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