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MOFCOM Regular Press Conference (June 1, 2023)

Shu Jueting: Friends from the press, good afternoon. Welcome to MOFCOM’s regular press conference. I would like to first make an announcement.

China’s trade in services, January-April 2023:

From January to April 2023, China’s trade in services maintained the growing momentum. Trade in services totaled RMB2081.65 billion, up by 9.1% year-on-year. Services export was RMB912.79 billion, down by 4.9%. Services import was RMB1194.52 billion, up 22.6%. Some major trends include:

First, larger share of trade in knowledge-intensive services. From January to April, China’s trade of knowledge-intensive services was worth RMB905.79 billion, up 13.1%. The share of knowledge-intensive services in total services trade rose by 1.5 percentage points to 43.5%. Specifically, the export of knowledge-intensive service was RMB538.48 billion, up 18%. The fastest-growing area was insurance services, which surged by 260.5%. The import of knowledge-intensive service was RMB367.31 billion, up 6.6%. The fastest-growing areas were personal cultural and recreational services and other business services, growing by 54% and 26.2% respectively.

Second, strong recovery of travel. From January to April, Travel services trade totaled RMB444.19 billion, up 63.4% year-on-year. Travel export increased by 48.5%, and import 64.5%.

That concludes the announcement. Now, I would like to take your questions.

The floor is open.

The Cover: Recently, President Xi Jinping met with President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The two presidents jointly announced that the strategic partnership of win-win cooperation will be upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership. What will be the areas of stronger bilateral trade and economic cooperation?

Shu Jueting: China and the DRC enjoys long-standing friendship. Our cooperation in various areas has yielded fruitful results. For many years in a row, China has been the DRC’s largest trading partner and source of foreign direct investment. The two countries are already in a close community of shared interests and shared future. On May 26, President Xi Jinping held talks with DRC President Felix Tshisekedi, who was paying a state visit to China. The two heads of state announced that the strategic partnership of win-win cooperation between China and the DRC will be upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership, which charted the course for the China-DRC relationship and trade and economic development.

In the next step, MOFCOM will work with its DRC counterparts to step up coordination, implement the important consensus of our heads of state, and let the cooperation outcomes benefit our peoples. China welcomes the DRC’s participation in the CIIE, CAETE and other expos, where it may promote its investment and trade environment and expand export of specialty products to China. China will continue to encourage and support business initiatives to increase investment in the DRC and strengthen cooperation in energy, mining, manufacturing, agriculture and the digital economy. China will expand infrastructure cooperation with the DRC in clean energy, transportation, telecommunications and other areas with more diversified cooperation formats. The two sides will continue to make good use of the joint trade and economic committee to better guide trade and economic cooperation and contribute to the growth of China-DRC comprehensive strategic partnership. Thank you.

China News Service: The ninth China (Shanghai) International Technology Fair (CSITF) will be held soon. Could you tell us about it?

Shu Jueting: The China (Shanghai) International Technology Fair (CSITF) is co-hosted by Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Science and Technology, China National Intellectual Property Administration, and Shanghai Municipal People’s Government. Eight CSITF sessions have been held since 2013. The CSITF has become a key platform for showcasing advanced technologies, connecting innovation resources and deepening international exchange and cooperation in the field of technology trade.

The ninth CSITF will be held from June 15 to 17, 2023 in Shanghai. The theme of the ninth CSITF is “Openness Connects the World, Technology Empowers the Future”. Preparations are underway smoothly. This year’s CSITF session has the following features:

First, more optimized exhibition area layout. This year’s CSITF will highlight digitization and green development. Five sections will be set up, namely Thematic Pavilion, Energy and Low-carbon Technology, Digital Technology, Biomedicine, and Innovation Ecosystem and Services, with a total floor space of 35,000 square kilometers. A special area for Belt and Road technological cooperation will be added to demonstrate technological innovation and cooperation outcomes of Chinese provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. Nearly 1,000 businesses from home and abroad will participate in the CSITF.

Second, the exhibition will have a richer agenda. We will hold a Technology Trade Summit and release National Technology Trade Innovation Best Cases to show what Chinese enterprises and their trade partners have achieved in international cooperation, innovation and entrepreneurship, and poverty alleviation through science and technology. During the exhibition, nearly 30 supporting activities will be organized, including the city (province) of honor, theme days, special forums, industry conferences and promotion and matchmaking sessions.

Thirdly, professional services will be improved. This year, the innovation ecology and service zone will be expanded and upgraded. We will provided one-stop services for the commercialization of scientific and technological achievements, IPR protection and application, investment and financing, legal services and human resources. Interested agencies will also initiate the establishment of the Technology Trade Promotion Services Alliance to strengthen the ecological clustering of the industry and the industrial chains, and enable more projects to be signed at the exhibition.

We encourage businesses from home and abroad to join the 9th CSITF. Friends from the media are welcome to cover the event. Thank you.

CGTN: Recently, China’s Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao met with the US Secretary of Commerce and Trade Representative during the APEC meeting. How’s the outcome? Does it mean a turnaround in China-US economic and trade relations?

Shu Jueting: On May 25 and 26, Minister Wang Wentao met with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Raimondo and USTR Katherine Tai respectively during his trip to the United States for the APEC Trade Ministers Meeting. The two sides agreed on the importance of China-US economic and trade relations, exchanged views on economic and trade issues of their concerns, and explored potential areas of cooperation. They agreed to maintain and strengthen exchanges. We hope to work with the US under the principle of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation, to manage differences and jointly maintain and deepen pragmatic economic and trade cooperation between the US and China, to the benefit of the two countries and peoples and to promote world economic development. Thank you.

CNBC:During the meetings between Minister Wang Wentao and his counterparts in the US, what were the key points on trade between the two countries, especially regarding the semiconductor policy?

Shu Jueting: China is highly concerned about US policies for the semiconductor industry export control, such as the Chip and Science Act. They were key issues raised by Minister Wang Wentao in his talks with the U.S. side. The two sides had an in-depth exchange on these issues and agreed to continue the discussion after the meeting. Thank you.

Phoenix TV: The EU is discussing the 11th round of sanctions against Russia, including sanctions against 7 Chinese companies. Have the Chinese and European economic and trade teams discussed this matter?

Shu Jueting: I have already responded to this question. I would like to reiterate that China has been firmly opposed to unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction with no basis in international law or authority from the Security Council. We hope that the EU will cherish the broader mutual trust and cooperation between China and Europe, act prudently, instead of setting a bad precedent. China will closely follow the developments and firmly safeguard the rights of Chinese enterprises to conduct normal trade. Thank you.

Zhonghongwang: Minister Wang Wentao attended the ministerial meeting between China and the members of the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement during the APEC trade ministers' meeting. What are the outcomes for promoting cooperation on digital trade?

Shu Jueting: On May 26, Minister Wang Wentao attended the ministerial meeting between China and the members of the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) together with representatives from Chile, New Zealand and Singapore on the side of the 29th APEC Trade Ministers' Meeting in Detroit, USA.

At the meeting, Minister Wang Wentao said that since the establishment of China’s Accession Working Group, China and member parties have worked together effectively and made positive progress overall. At present, many Chinese localities are making efforts to align with DEPA and working with members to explore cooperation in various areas. Progress has been made in some projects. China looks forward to working with DEPA members to strengthen practical cooperation while promoting the accession negotiations, so that more projects can be implemented.

DEPA members made positive comments on the progress of China’s Accession Working Group and expressed their willingness to work with China to comprehensively move forward consultations at all levels, deepen cooperation in the digital economy, explore more opportunities for cooperation and continue to achieve positive results. Thank you.

Yicai: The US-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) negotiations on an international supply chain agreement are almost concluded. The agreement will establish a mechanism among IPEF partners to develop diversified supply chains and strengthen logistics connectivity. As a member of the Asia-Pacific region, what’s the comment of MOFCOM?

Shu Jueting: China has taken note of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). We believe that prosperity, stability and economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region benefit from openness and win-win cooperation, rather than exclusiveness and the creation of differences. China has always been supportive of open and inclusive regional economic cooperation initiatives that can promote economic cooperation and solidarity, including APEC. But China opposes closed and confrontational “small circles”.

China is ready to work with all parties in the Asia-Pacific region to promote regional economic integration, foster economic development in the region and enhance the well-being of countries and peoples in the region. Thank you.

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