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MOFCOM Regular Press Conference (June 6, 2024)

He Yadong: Friends from the press, good afternoon. Welcome to Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) regular press conference. Since I don’t have any announcement to make today, we can directly proceed to the Q&A session.

The floor is open.

National Business Daily: The action plan for consumer goods trade-in has been published for some time. What’s the progress of this initiative?

He Yadong: Thank you for the question and for your attention to consumer goods trade-in. On March 27, 14 departments including MOFCOM jointly published the action plan for consumer goods trade-in. On April 26, MOFCOM and the Ministry of Finance and other departments released detailed rules for automobile trade-in allowances. Since the release of these documents, all work has been smoothly underway after a good start, and the policies have begun to deliver.

In terms of automobile trade-in, as of today’s press conference, MOFCOM has received more than 40,000 applications for automobile scrapping. The number of applications has grown at a faster pace. On April 27, MOFCOM’s automobile trade-in information platform received the first car scrapping allowance application. It took 25 days to hit the 10,000 mark, 7 days from 10,000 to 20,000, and only 4 days from 20,000 to 30,000.

Regarding the sales of automobiles and household appliances, the retail sales of passenger vehicles in May amounted to approximately 1.685 million units, a month-on-month growth of around 10%. Notably, 790,000 new energy vehicles were sold, accounting for 47% of sold passenger vehicles. The number of recycled end-of-life vehicles stood at 577,000, a year-on-year surge of 48.9% and a month-to-month increase of 16.2%. From January through May, leading e-commerce platforms reported an 81.8% year-on-year upsurge in sales generated from appliance trade-in programs.

In the course of implementing policies, we have focused our efforts in three primary areas. First, establishing mechanisms. MOFCOM initiated an inter-ministerial coordination system for consumer goods trade-in, alongside a collaborative mechanism that integrates central and local government actions with corporate participation. Second, formulating policies. We have supported the development of systems for the recycling of reuseable resources, such as end-of-life household appliances, and expanded a policy package comprising tax breaks, financial assistance, and corporate discounts. Third, Launching activities. We have organized 18 local roadshows for the National Consumer Goods Trade-In Initiative, as well as the 2024 National Home Renovation Consumption Season and the National Household Appliances Consumption Season.

Moving forward, MOFCOM will work with relevant departments to adhere to a dual-pronged approach, leveraging both policy support and promotional activities. We are committed to intensifying our efforts and setting higher benchmarks to ensure the effective implementation of our initiatives and achieve greater success in consumer goods trade-in. Thank you.

CCTV: Minister Wang Wentao is visiting Europe. Could you talk about his visit?

He Yadong: At the invitation of the Ministry of Economy, Commerce and Business of Spain and the Ministry of Economy of Portugal, Minister Wang Wentao has been visiting the two countries, with the aim of promoting and deepening bilateral trade and economic cooperation with the two countries. Regarding Minister Wang’s activities during the visit, please refer to publicly available reports from the three sides. Thank you.

China Business News: Recently, Minister Wang Wentao held a roundtable meeting for Chinese-invested companies in Spain in Barcelona. He also visited Chery’s joint venture facility with EBRO. This year, the EU has taken multiple trade remedy measures targeting China. What’s MOFCOM’s view on cooperation between Chinese auto makers and their EU partners?

He Yadong: The EU has recently been hyping up so-called “overcapacity from China” and “unfair competition”, used discriminatory trade tools and launched intensive investigations into Chinese companies and products. In the investigations, the EU distorted the definition of subsidies and abused rules and procedures. As a result, risks of trade and economic frictions between China and the EU has been on the rise, and business confidence in cooperation with the EU is severely impacted.

China always believes that China and the EU, as major trade and economic partners with a sound foundation, should get along in the right way of expanding cooperation through healthy competition and pursuing win-win outcomes. The production facilities of Chinese automakers in the EU are a vivid example of China-EU mutual complementarity and win-win cooperation. They are conducive to boosting local economy and employment and driving the European NEV sector.

It is hoped that the EU work with China in the same direction, implement the important consensus of the China-France-EU trilateral leaders’ meeting, properly address trade and economic frictions through dialogue and consultation, and accommodate each other’s reasonable concerns. China will take all necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies. Thank you.

SETV: At the 10th Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, China proposed four goals and “five cooperation frameworks”, which include a more balanced framework for mutually beneficial economic and trade ties. What are the new measures for China-Arab states cooperation in the trade and economic context?

He Yadong: At the recently held opening ceremony of the 10th Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech, making the proposal that China is ready to work with the Arab side on that basis to put in place “five cooperation frameworks” to step up the building of a China-Arab community with a shared future and inject more certainty and positive elements into this turbulent world.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum. Over the past 20 years, China-Arab states trade and economic cooperation has achieved wide-ranging, multitiered, and multi-dimensional leapfrog development. China is Arab states’ largest trading partner and important infrastructure and investment partner. Cooperation between our two sides is showing sound momentum in areas such as finance, aviation and aerospace, digital economy and green development.

The more balanced framework for mutually beneficial economic and trade ties highlighted by President Xi Jinping charts the course for China-Arab states trade and economic cooperation in the next stage. Moving forward, China stands ready to strengthen coordination and collaboration with Arab states to pursue greater progress.

First, enhancing trade cooperation. Both sides may accelerate negotiations for a China-GCC Free Trade Agreement and explore the signing of additional bilateral and regional free trade agreements. Both sides need to fully leverage cooperation mechanisms such as trade facilitation and trade remedies and promote mutual recognition of standards. Arab states are encouraged to utilize platforms such as the China International Import Expo (CIIE) and the China-Arab States Expo to intensify promotion efforts and expand non-energy product exports to China.

Second, deepening bilateral investment cooperation. Both sides may explore upgrading more bilateral investment treaties to enhance the level of investment protection and promotion. They may leverage the clustering effect and catalytic role of industrial parks to deepen supply chain cooperation and accelerate the circulation of economic activities between China and Arab states. Sustained efforts are needed to advance the China-GCC Joint Investment Association.

Third, expanding cooperation in emerging sectors. Both sides need to encourage cooperation in cross-border e-commerce, overseas warehouses and other areas to expand trade links and diversify trade modalities. They need to conduct exchanges on and align their digital economy development strategies, policies, laws and regulations, and rules and standards. They need to keep advancing cooperation in green, low-carbon, and sustainable development projects to assist the GCC countries in their economic diversification and transformation. Thank you.

Reuters: The European Commission said it has received a letter from China calling for a restart of trade relations. In China’s opinion, what steps are needed from both sides to achieve this goal? In which areas is China ready for negotiations?

He Yadong: Recently, the EU has launched a series of discriminatory investigations against Chinese electric vehicles, wind power and PV products and businesses, among others. This has led to a continuous rise in the risk of trade frictions and affected bilateral trade and economic cooperation. China has repeatedly expressed its concern and strong dissatisfaction, as well as its hope for the EU to abandon protectionism and return to the right path of dialogue and cooperation. China is ready to work with the EU to properly address trade frictions through dialogue and consultation and accommodate the legitimate concerns of both sides. Thank you.

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