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Highlights of news conference of the Ministry of Commerce

Updated: Mar 9,2019 2:28 PM

Zhong Shan, Minister of Commerce; Wang Shouwen, Vice-Minister of Commerce and Deputy China International Trade Representative, and Vice-Minister of Commerce Qian Keming, answered questions on China’s domestic market and all-around opening-up at a news conference during the second session of the 13th National People’s Congress on March 9, 2019.

Here are the highlights:

Social consumption increases 9% to 38t yuan last year

China’s total social consumption in 2018 reached 38.1 trillion yuan, up 9 percent year-on-year, Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan said on March 9 during a media conference.

Consumption contributed 76.2 percent of last year’s economic growth, Zhong said.

Sino-US trade talks on positive track

Hope is rising for the Sino-US trade talks as both negotiation teams are trying their best to turn the consensus reached between both countries’ leaders into reality, according to the Ministry of Commerce on March 9.

Tariff hikes do no help any parties, Wang Shouwen, vice-minister of commerce, told a news conference during the two sessions on March 9.

A mutually beneficial agreement between China and the United States will meet both countries’ interest and also the whole world’s expectation, Wang added.

Govt to roll out policies to boost social consumption

Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan said a slew of measures will be taken this year to boost China’s social consumption, such as improving urban consumption, to promote consumption upgrades, expand rural consumption, and develop service consumption while optimizing service supply.

The country will upgrade a number of pedestrian streets, optimize the layout of convenience stores, and encourage brand development and franchising.

The country will promote “selling agricultural products to the cities, while selling industrial products to the countryside.”

Investment environment to become more stable and open

China’s investment environment is expected to become more stable, open and transparent, as the draft foreign investment law stipulates foreign enterprises will receive pre-established national treatment plus a negative list management system, according to the Ministry of Commerce on March 9.

The foreign investment law is expected to help establish an environment where foreign companies can compete fairly in China, and better protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors, Wang Shouwen, vice-minister of commerce, said at a news conference during the two sessions.

Wang also cited that the law will protect the intellectual property rights of foreign investors and encourage technology cooperation based on voluntary principles and commercial rules.

Belt and Road Initiative fulfills developing nations investments needs

Developing countries are in need of investment, and in the past five years through Belt and Road Initiative, China has helped many developing economies in infrastructure construction and production capacity cooperation, said Qian Keming, vice-minister of commerce.

The Belt and Road Initiative does not increase the debt pressure of countries involved, and as a matter of fact it helps the related economies get more investment they need, Qian said.

Abuse of security review to hurt foreign investment

The Ministry of Commerce said on March 9 it noticed some countries have tightened the security review of foreign investment in recent years, which may obstruct the investment activities of Chinese companies in the overseas markets.

“We are closely watching this issue and seeing how it develops,” Qian Keming, vice-minister of commerce, told at a news conference from the sidelines of the two sessions. “We are firmly against protectionism in any form, and do not want to see the abuse of security review as a way to obstruct the normal investment activities.”

“We are willing to work with relevant countries, creating an open and transparent business environment and making the world economy an open one,” Qian added.

Second CIIE to be bigger in scale and products

The scale of second China International Import Expo, or CIIE, will be bigger than before, with the planned exhibition area of 330,000 square meters, and will attract more exhibitors, Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan said at a news conference on March 9.

The second CIIE will show more new products, technologies and contents in various forms, Zhong said.

Moreover, China will provide more activities and professional service facilities to provide greater sense of gain to the exhibitors, said Zhong.