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MOFCOM Regular Press Conference (June 20, 2024)

He Yadong: Friends from the press, good afternoon. Welcome to the regular press conference of MOFCOM. I would like to make an announcement first.

China’s outbound investment cooperation from January to May

From January to May, China’s non-financial ODI increased 16.3% year-on-year to USD60.2 billion. In breakdown, non-financial direct investment in BRI partner countries reached USD12.81 billion, up by 12.7% year-on-year.

From January to May, the turnover of completed overseas contracted projects was USD21.68 billion, up 8.8% year-on-year. The value of newly signed contract went up by 21.7% year-on-year to USD87.3 billion. The turnover of completed contracted projects and the value of the newly signed contracts with BRI partner countries stood at USD48.01 billion and USD69.71 billion, a year-on-year increase of 9.5% and 20.2% respectively.

The floor is now open.

Cover News: Premier Li Qiang visited Australia recently. What did China and Australia discuss in the trade and economic area? What will be done to promote deep and practical trade and economic cooperation between China and Australia?

He Yadong: During Premier Li Qiang’s visit to Australia, China and Australia held the Seventh Australia-China CEO Roundtable Meeting and signed the Memorandum regarding Further Enhancing the Implementation of China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. The two sides also exchanged views, enhanced mutual understanding and reached consensus on broad issues and priority areas of cooperation on the trade and economic fronts.

International Business Daily: Last January, MOFCOM initiated an anti-dumping investigation into certain brandy imports from the EU. According to media reports, since the EU announced its decision to impose additional tariffs on EV imports from China, French brandy producers have been deeply worried about the potential impact of the decision and seriously concerned over the definitive results of China’s anti-dumping probe into brandy imports from the EU. It is also reported that the preliminary determination in the investigation into brandy imports will be published in August. Could you brief us on the progress in the probe? Will the preliminary determination be released in August?

He Yadong: On January 5, 2024, at the request of the domestic brandy industry in China, MOFCOM initiated an anti-dumping investigation into certain brandy imports originating from the EU. Right after the initiation, over 140 EU businesses and trade associations signed up to respond to the probe. To date, nearly 120 EU businesses have formally submitted their questionnaire replies. Related EU trade associations have also submitted many comments and opinions.

Since the initiation of the probe, the Chinese investigating authority has been investigating according to WTO rules and domestic laws and regulations to fully protect the legitimate rights of interested parties. Investigation proceedings such as registering respondents, sampling, circulating questionnaires and receiving replies have been completed.

According to China’s Anti-Dumping Regulation, the investigating authority is entitled to make preliminary determinations within 60 days of the initiation of the investigation. Having assembled forces for an in-depth investigation, the investigating authority is now expeditiously reviewing questionnaires, comments and opinions. It has also sent supplementary questions to interested parties. The investigating authority will make determinations in accordance with laws and regulations based on its findings. Thank you.

China and Australia enjoy highly complementary economic strengths and are natural partners for cooperation. Mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples. China is ready to work with Australia to make good use of mechanisms such as the Joint Ministerial Economic Commission and the Joint Commission on China-Australia FTA to expand bilateral trade and investment. While consolidating cooperation in industries with traditional advantages, China is willing to work with Australia to actively expand cooperation in green development, digital economy and other fields to promote the steady and sound development of bilateral trade and economic relations. Thank you.

CGTN: The Ninth Global Review on Aid for Trade will take place at the WTO in Geneva, Switzerland. Could Mr. Spokesman brief us on that?

He Yadong: The Global Review of Aid for Trade started from 2007. Its aim is to evaluate and monitor the implementation of the Aid for Trade initiative and strengthen information and experience sharing. From June 26 to 28, 2024, the Ninth Global Review of Aid for Trade will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, where stakeholders will discuss food security, digital connectivity and mainstreaming trade.

In recent years, China has pressed ahead with the Global Development Initiative and carried out Aid for Trade projects under the framework of South-South cooperation. Through support in trade-related infrastructure, technological assistance and capacity building, China has helped relevant countries better engage in international trade and achieve economic and social development goals in a bid to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

China will participate in many high-level events at the Global Review of Aid for Trade 2024 and demonstrate what China had done to help other developing countries, particularly the LDCs address food security. China will also host a session on food security with success stories of Chinese foreign assistance projects regarding hybrid rice and juncao technology in LDCs and fellow develping countries. This is the first time for China to hold a session during the Global Review of Aid for Trade.

Please stay tuned for the above events. Thank you.

CNR: On June 18, Chinese and European NEV companies attended a closed-door meeting at MOFCOM. They all voiced their opposition to additional tariffs on Chinese EVs. Some said that the EU was prying into Chinese technologies on account of investigation by requiring extra information. What’s your comment?

He Yadong: According to the companies, the European Commission, in its anti-subsidy investigation into Chinese EVs, required massive amounts of information related to Chinese EV and battery companies such as production and operation, development plans, technology and processes, and product formulas, as well as EV production costs, EV component and raw material purchases per transaction, sale channels and pricing, EU client information, and supply chain layout. Such information collection of unprecedented types, scope and amount went far beyond what is needed for an anti-subsidy investigation.

Throughout the investigation, the European Commission forced companies to provide the abovementioned information, quoting unfavorable decisions derived from noncooperation on multiple occasions. Despite the cooperation of the Chinese companies by providing information to the best of their capacity, the European Commission groundlessly accused them of inadequate cooperation and decided on high punitive tariff rates. The Chinese companies are very shocked and disappointed at this conclusion. The EU practices are neither fact-based nor law-based; they ignore WTO rules, disrupt fair competition and undermine global green transition and open cooperation. China strongly opposes to them, and will take all necessary measures to safeguard the lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies. Thank you.

Economic Daily: It was reported that Chinese industries were petitioning the government to initiate an anti-dumping investigation on pork products from the EU and a countervailing investigation on dairy products from the EU. Now that MOFCOM has launched the AD investigation on EU’s pork products, is it likely that MOFCOM will launch a CVD investigation on EU’s dairy products? Have you received any request from the industry?

Shanghai Securities: Recently, the US, once again, imposed sanctions on more than 300 entities and individuals around the world, including more than 40 companies and individuals in the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, citing relations with Russia as the reason. What is the comment of the Ministry of Commerce?

He Yadong: Sanctions against Chinese companies based on alleged involvement in Russia can not find any basis in international law and the authorization of the UN Security Council. It is a typical act of unilateral bullying and economic coercion. We are strongly opposed to such actions. The US should immediately stop its unjustified suppression of Chinese companies. China will take all necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises. Thank you.

Reuters: On Monday, MOFCOM made the announcement to launch an anti-dumping investigation on part of the pork and by-products imports from the EU. During the investigation period, will China levy interim tariffs on pork imports from the EU?

CNBC: The United States announced in May that it will increase import duties on some key mineral resources from China, including tungsten. What is China’s response? Do you plan to take countermeasures?

On May 14, the US announced the decision to further increased tariffs on electric vehicles, lithium batteries, photovoltaic cells, key minerals and other products imported from China on the basis of the original 301 tariffs. China is firmly opposed to this action and has made serious representations. The US, in disregard of international economic and trade rules, insists on maintaining and increasing the 301 tariff on China, politicizing and weaponizing economic and trade issues. This runs counter to the important consensus reached by the two heads of state, and is a typical political manipulation. The US should immediately redress its wrong actions and remove the additional tariff measures against China. Thank you.

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