Shu Jueting: Friends from the media, good afternoon. Welcome to MOFCOM regular press conference. First, I have an announcement to make.
Today, MOFCOM released the Statistical Bulletin on China’s Foreign Contracted Projects 2020, It is the first time for us to publish annual statistics on China’s foreign contracted projects business in the form of a statistical bulletin. Here, I would like to briefly introduce to you the main contents of the Bulletin.
In 2020, despite the adverse impact brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s outbound contracting business maintained a steady development in general, with a total of USD255.54 billion of new contracts signed and USD155.94 billion of completed turnover in 184 countries and regions around the world. The following features can be observed.
Firstly, the market was relatively concentrated. Asia and Africa accounted for over 80% of the business, with 56% and 26.6% of the newly signed contracts and 57.2% and 24.6% of the completed turnover respectively.
Secondly, countries along the Belt and Road accounted for more than half of the total business. The total value of contracts signed by Chinese enterprises in 61 countries along the Belt and Road in 2020 was USD141.46 billion and the completed turnover was US$91.12 billion, accounting for 55.4% and 58.4% of the total respectively in the same period.
Thirdly, the foreign contracted projects covered a wide range of sectors including transportation construction, general construction, power engineering and petrochemical industry as the main fields, in which the newly signed contracts and completed turnover both accounted for over 75% of the total.
Fourthly, the number of newly signed large projects increased, with 904 large projects worth above USD50 million, 10 more than the previous year, of which 514 are projects worth USD 100 million, up by eight from the previous year.
That’s all for the announcement. I would like to take your questions. The floor is open now.
CMG: At the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Xi Jinping attended and addressed the opening ceremony of the Sixth Eastern Economic Forum by video on September 3. Could you please brief us on the economic and trade cooperation between Russia and China in the Far East?
Shu Jueting: The economic and trade cooperation between China and Russia in the Far East has an early start, a good foundation and great potential. China attaches great importance to strengthening economic and trade cooperation with the Far East of Russia. The two sides have been improving the cooperation mechanism and diversifying the participating parties with increasingly substantial cooperation outcomes.
First, trade and investment has continued to grow. According to Russian statistics, in the first half of 2021, the Russian Far East’s trade with China amounted to USD5.82 billion, up 24% year-on-year; 58 Chinese projects are located in the Far East Development Zone and Vladivostok Free Port, and China continues to maintain its position as the largest trading partner and the largest source of foreign investment in the Russian Far East.
Second, the cooperation mechanism has been improved. The China-Russia Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee on Northeast-Far East is functioning efficiently. Joined actively by Guangdong, Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, the Northeast-Far East Plus model has started to bear fruit. The two sides have upgraded and improved the “China-Russia Far East Cooperation Development Plan (2018-2024)” and continued to step up services and guidance for cooperation between localities and businesses of the two countries.
Third, connectivity has been advanced continuously. The Heihe Highway Bridge has been ready for use, and the Tongjiang Railway Bridge was opened last month.
Fourth, industrial cooperation has moved deeper. While deepening soybean cooperation, China and Russia are actively exploring cooperation in oil and gas chemicals, mineral resources, green and low-carbon development and hydrogen, among others, injecting new momentum into the bilateral practical cooperation.
Fifth, key projects are moving forward steadily. The Amur gas processing plant and the Amur gas chemical project that China takes part in are progressing smoothly. The two sides have achieved fruitful cooperation in the field of engineering contracting, involving urban construction, infrastructure, port logistics and many other fields.?
Going forward, China is ready to work with the Russian side to implement the important consensus reached by the two heads of state, strengthen the synergy of development policies and projects, solidly promote more achievements in China-Russia cooperation in the Far East, and continuously substantiate the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination in the new era. Thank you.?
China Media Group: A series of Meetings of Economic Ministers on East Asian Cooperation will be held soon. What considerations and expectations does the Ministry of Commerce have?
Shu Jueting: A series of Meetings of Economic Ministers on East Asian Cooperation will be held via video conference on September 13-15. Minister of Commerce of China, Wang Wentao, will attend the meeting in Beijing. China looks forward to an in-depth exchange of views with all participants on further advancing East Asian economic cooperation and trade, strengthening cooperation on COVID-19 response and economic recovery, promoting regional economic integration and economic globalization and other issues. Thank you.
Shenzhen TV: Recently, we have noticed that the Master Plan of the Development of the Guangdong-Macao Intensive Cooperation Zone in Hengqin and the Plan for Comprehensively Deepening Reform and Opening-Up of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone in Qianhai, Shenzhen have been issued, injecting strong impetus to Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. How will the Ministry of Commerce play its role?
Shu Jueting: In accordance with the decisions and plans of the Party Central Committee and the State Council, the Ministry of Commerce will diligently implement relevant measures of the plan based on its duties. We will strive to further improve service trade liberalization in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area through CEPA, facilitate the employment and practice in Qianhai and Hengqin for professionals from various fields in Hong Kong and Macao, and support the Sections of Qianhai and Shekou in Shenzhen and Hengqin New Area in Zhuhai of the Guangdong Pilot Free Trade Zone in deepening cooperation between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao based on their strategic definition and unique geographical locations. The Hengqin Cooperation Zone is supported in implementing a package of innovative measures to deepen reform and open wider to serve Macao and the Qianhai Cooperation Zone is supported in building a high-level gateway and hub for opening up to the outside world, and elevating economic cooperation and trade between the mainland and Hong Kong and Macao to a new level. Thank you.
The Cover: The Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day are around the corner. Does the Ministry of Commerce have any measures to guarantee market supply and promote consumption? Could you elaborate on that?
Shu Jueting: The Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day is the traditional peak season of consumption. In order to ensure adequate market supply and stable operation during the festival and better meet the demand of consumers, the Ministry of Commerce will focus on four aspects: First, connecting production and sales. We will guide local governments and enterprises to better match production and sales, and focus on ensuring the market supply of major daily necessities, so as to ensure that they are not out of stock or supply. Second, keeping sufficient inventory. We will guide commercial circulation enterprises in increasing the inventory and diversifying the types of goods according to individualized consumption needs of different consumer groups. According to market needs, we will fully leverage government reserves for adjustment in a timely manner. Third, promoting consumption. The localities are encouraged to take advantage of the peak consumption season during the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day, under the prerequisite of sound epidemic prevention and control, and carry out various forms of consumption promotion activities to unleash consumption potential. Fourth, strengthening monitoring. We will pay close attention to market operation during the festival, strengthen monitoring and early warning of the daily necessities market, keep track of livelihood products such as grain, oil, meat, vegetables, eggs and milk, accurately map market supply and demand, and coordinate to solve potential problems in a timely manner. Thank you.
International Business Daily: Recently, the "Digital Trade Development Trend and Frontier Summit Forum" of 2021 CIFITS was successfully held. What is the role of developing digital trade in China's high-level opening up? What measures will the Ministry of Commerce take in the future to continue to stimulate the development of digital trade?
Shu Jueting: In recent years, the global digital trade has accelerated its development and has increasingly become a new engine to promote economic growth. Developing digital trade is of great significance to China's opening to the outside world in a larger scope, to wider areas and at deeper levels. It not only could accelerate the digital transformation of China's traditional industries, but also step up the integration of China's emerging digital industries into the global industrial system, thus injecting new impetus into world economic growth.
In accordance with the decisions and plans of the Party Central Committee and the State Council, the Ministry of Commerce will strive to promote the innovation and development of China's digital trade. First, speeding up the top-level design and put forward measures for the development of digital trade with Chinese characteristics. Second, building a digital trade demonstration zone, and supporting Beijing and other regions as pioneers in bench-marking rules under international high-level FTAs. Third, strengthening international cooperation and participating constructively in the formulation of international rules for digital trade. Fourth, creating sound business environment and jointly issuing policies and measures to support the development of national digital service export bases with relevant departments. Thank you.
Global Times: On September 4 local time, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply of Brazil reported two atypical cases of Bovine Encephalopathy Spongiform, commonly known as “mad cow disease”. As per relevant agreement between China and Brazil, Brazil has suspended exporting beef to China. Will the beef trade between the two countries be hugely impacted?
According to our knowledge, Brazil has timely notified China of the epidemic and suspended beef exports to China, as required by relevant protocol between China and Brazil. In the next step, the two sides will keep in contact on the follow-up work, including risk assessment and technical consultations. Thank you.
Phoenix TV: We’ve noted a recent report by the New York Times that the American business community is discontent with the Biden Administration’s China trade policy, and requiring to lift the punitive tariffs on Chinese products. How does China comment on that?
China always believes that the additional tariffs imposed by the US is not in the interest of either China or the United States, nor is it helpful for the world economic recovery.
China Business News: The share of China’s general trade in the first eight months of this year continued to expand. The export of electric and machinery products also saw sustained growth. Does it indicate that China’s trade competitiveness has been strengthened?
Since the beginning of 2021, our foreign trade has maintained a robust momentum with greater resilience and vitality. First, market entities have expanded. From January to July this year, a total of 497,000 companies registered actual import and export performances in China, among which over 80% were private companies. Second, the trade structure has been improved. From January to August, the shares of exports of general trade, electric and machinery products, emerging markets and private companies increased by 1.5, 0.3, 1 and 2.2 percentage points year-on-year respectively. Third, the industrial foundation has been solidified. Another 105 foreign trade upgrading bases were accredited, bringing the total number to 578. We have also accredited the first batch of 13 national industrial parks of processing trade. Industrial clusters have grown stronger, driving enterprises to further advance technological innovation and brand building. Fourth, new drivers for development have been reinforced. New models of foreign trade such as cross-border e-commerce and market procurement continue to grow fast, taking up higher proportions in foreign trade.
However, we are fully aware that our foreign trade still faces issues such as uncertainties, instability and imbalance. We will follow closely the latest developments to continue our efforts in optimizing imports and exports, integrating trade and industry and facilitating trade connectivity. We will step up international trade and economic cooperation for common development with our trading partners. Thank you.
If there are no further questions, that concludes today’s press conference. Thank you.
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