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MOFCOM Regular Press Conference (July 8, 2021)

Gao Feng: Members of the press, good afternoon. Welcome to MOFCOM’s regular press conference. I don’t have any announcement to make today and would like to take your questions. The floor is open.

21st Century Business Herald: On June 28, MOFCOM and related authorities said that as the declining hog-to-grain price ratio triggered a Level-One warning, central and local governments would start stockpiling pork and hold a bidding process on July 7 for 20,000 tons of frozen pork as this year’s first batch of central pork reserves. What are MOFCOM’s considerations for stabilizing pork prices? What is your outlook on the pork market for the second half of the year? Will other measures follow?

Gao Feng: Pork price stability concerns both hog production and people’s life. The aim of macroeconomic regulation is to prevent price swings from hurting consumers and farmers. From the current situation, the backlog of large pigs has gradually cleared. With the support of government stockpiling, hog and pork prices are expected to consolidate amid stability in the second half of the year.

For the next steps, we will continue to secure supply and stabilize prices for the pork market. On the one hand, we will leverage the reserves to regulate the market based on scientific analysis of market dynamics with timely stockpiling and release. On the other hand, we will strengthen communications to guide expectations and monitor supply and demand in major wholesale markets and through typical retailers for timely forecasts, so as to avoid panic caused by information asymmetry and stabilize market expectations. Thank you.

The Cover: Recently, the General Office of MOFCOM printed and circulated the Notice on Ensuring Market Supplies during the Flood Season. How is the work going across the country, especially Northeast China where the flood is pretty bad this year? What will MOFCOM do next to ensure the continued success of the work?

Gao Feng: To secure the supply of daily necessities in related localities for the flood season, MOFCOM has guided the localities to step up monitoring and early warning for grain, oil, meat, vegetables and eggs, strengthen supply-securing companies, conduct emergency exercises, and expand supplies reserves for the flood season. Badly affected areas in Northeast and South China have designated emergency watchmen and increased the inventory of necessities such as long-lasting vegetables.

According to MOFCOM’s monitoring results, the necessities markets in flood-affected areas are stable and well-supplied to meet people’s daily needs. Moving forward, MOFCOM will continue to follow the flood trend and market closely and work with related departments to guide the localities in flood safety checks and corrections, so as to ensure reserve security and the stability of the necessities market. Thank you.

SZTV: The World Bank released a report on June 29 to revise China’s economic forecast this year up to 8.5%. President Xi Jinping held a summit with French President Macron and German Chancellor Merkel in Beijing a few days ago. Both President Macron and Chancellor Merkel voiced their support for reaching the investment agreement between China and the EU. Where does the investment agreement stand now? How would you see the implications of this summit on pushing forward with China-EU trade and economic engagement?

On July 5, President Xi Jinping held a virtual summit with French President Macron and German Chancellor Merkel. They reached a series of important consensus that provided strong political guidance to the two sides to expand mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation and properly handle global challenges, and greatly boosted corporate confidence in deepening cooperation.

As two economic powerhouses, China and the EU are highly complementary economically and have enormous cooperation potential to tap into. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the two sides have tided over difficulties to deliver trade growth and steady investment increase despite challenges posed by the pandemic. Strengthened trade and economic cooperation between China and the EU will enhance the peoples’ well-being of the two sides, facilitate their joint efforts to tackle global challenges and promote economic recovery of the world.

The China-EU investment agreement serves the common interest of both sides and of the world at large. The two sides are now engaged in legal scrubbing, text translation and other technical work. Thank you.

CGTN: It’s reported by Japanese media that the head of Ryohin Keikaku, the parent company of Muji Store said recently that the company would continue to use Xinjiang cotton in its products as the company’s investigation hadn’t found any human right abuses on Xinjiang’s cotton farms. How does MOFCOM comment on that? Will China consider containing the development of the companies that have restricted the use of Xinjiang cotton?

China has repeatedly stressed that the so-called “forced labor” in Xinjiang is totally contrary to facts. Some countries are pursuing protectionism and hegemony in the name of the so-called “human rights”, which has gravely undermined the international trade and economic order. This is not only unreasonable suppression on Chinese companies in Xinjiang by using state power, but also on multinationals that have normal trade with Xinjiang. Such unreasonable suppression is an evil act to pursue the so-called “self development first”.

To our knowledge, relevant international industry agencies and foreign companies’ representatives in China will go to Xinjiang in the near future to visit cotton farms and yarn mills there. Seeing is believing. We believe that more and more companies and agencies will respect facts and truth and follow the laws of the market.

China urges relevant countries to immediately rectify the wrong behaviour of unreasonable suppression. We are willing to provide support to foreign companies to carry out trade and investment cooperation with Xinjiang. Thank you.

CBN: Recently, the Ministry of Commerce has newly identified 105 national foreign trade transformation and upgrading bases. What progress has been made in the development of foreign trade transformation and upgrading bases? What measures will the Ministry of Commerce take in the next step to further promote the development of such bases?

Gao Feng: Up till now, there are 578 national foreign trade transformation and upgrading bases in China, covering eight major industries: mechanical and electrical products, agricultural products, light industrial products, arts and crafts, textile and clothing, medicine, new materials, specialized chemicals and hardware and building materials. As an important platform for the integration of industry and trade, the foreign trade transformation and upgrading bases have become important vessels for high-quality trade development in China, and have played an active role in promoting the innovative development of foreign trade, and stabilizing and optimizing industrial chains and supply chains.

In recent years, with the joint effort of relevant departments, localities and industries, the development of foreign trade transformation and upgrading bases has made much progress. First, the industrial cluster effect is enhanced and the special advantages are clear. Relying on industrial advantages and development potential, with backbone enterprises as the core, the bases continue to extend industrial chains, and the cluster effect continues to strengthen. Second, industrial transformation and upgrading have been accelerated, and digital capabilities have been significantly improved. The bases attach great importance to building independent innovation capacity, improve the environment of innovation, strengthen digital capacity building, and promote the transformation to innovation-driven development. Third, brand quality has continued to be improved and influence enhanced. The brand awareness of bases is increasing day by day. The bases emphasized the leading effect of major corporate brands and the clustering effect of regional brands, while efforts are made to develop self-owned brands and improve product quality. Fourth, the public service system has been enhanced day by day, and the business environment keeps improving. The bases are actively innovating their working approaches, improving various public service platforms, and continuously improving their services in infrastructure and logistics support.

In the next step, the Ministry of Commerce will continue to develop such bases, improve the exchange mechanism, publicize and roll out more experience, help the bases become more digitized, improve the development of the public service system, work to help the bases share public service platforms for R&D, design, testing and information, accelerate the innovation of technical products and business models, give full play to the demonstration and leading role of the bases, promote industrial transformation and upgrading, and promote high-quality trade growth. Thank you.

Shanghai Securities News: We’ve noticed that MOFCOM has recently issued the Notice on Paperless Import and Export Licensing for Dual-use Items and Technologies. What measures will MOFCOM take regarding management of import and export of dual-use items and technologies? What will MOFCOM do to enhance facilitation?

Gao Feng: In order to push forward with reforms that delegate power, improve regulation, and upgrade services, and enhance trade facilitation, MOFCOM decided to apply paperless management to import and export licensing for dual-use items and technologies. Exporters can submit electronic application documents via a unified platform under MOFCOM. In principle, there is no need to submit paper material.

Paperless management will bring down cost for businesses as the whole process of application, review, license issuance and clearance now goes electronic. Reviews start upon submission of materials, thus shortening the licensing period to about five to seven days. The whole process can be checked online anytime.

Going forward, MOFCOM will do a good job of dual-use items and technologies import licensing management in accordance with laws and regulations and continue to promote institutional innovation and further enhance trade facilitation on condition of ensuring both development and security. Thank you.

Gao Feng: Are there any more questions? If there is no question, this is the end of the press conference. Thank you.

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