Ministry of Commerce Held Regular Press Conference October 28, 2021




Shu Jueting: Friends from the press, good afternoon.


Welcome to the regular press conference of MOFCOM.


I would like to make a briefing first.


Statistics of the online retail sales in the first three quarters of this year.


This year, China's online retail market continues to improve steadily.


According to the National Bureau of Statistics, in the first three quarters, China’s online retail sales reached RMB9.19 trillion, up 18.5% year-on-year. Among them, the online retail sales of physical goods was RMB7.50 trillion, up 15.2% year-on-year, accounting for 23.6% of the total retail sales of consumer goods, and contributing 22.1% to the growth of total retail sales of consumer goods, increasing steadily for six months in a row.


According to business data monitoring, online retail sales in the past three quarters has the following characteristics.


First, more than half of the monitored categories grew more rapidly.


In the first three quarters, among the 18 monitored categories, ten posted faster growth, among which communication equipment, electronic publications and audio-visual products, and automobile grew by 12.3%, 11.5% and 2.7% year-on-year, 3.9, 1.8 and 1.6 percentage points higher than the rate of January to August.


In September, communication equipment, tobacco and alcohol, home electric appliances and audio-visual equipment increased by 43.1%, 33.6% and 11.0% respectively.


Second, online food consumption continued to recover steadily.


In the first three quarters, online restaurant sales increased by 34.9% year-on-year.


In September, because of the Mid-autumn Festival, online order and in-store pickup surged by 81.1% year-on-year, 33.7 percentage points higher than the previous month.


Third, rural e-commerce continued to grow.


In the first three quarters, rural online retail sales registered 1.42931 trillion yuan, up by 16.3%. Online retail sales of agricultural products registered 304.39 billion yuan, up 1.5%, beating the growth rate of January to August by 0.9 percentage points.


Fourth, cross-border e-commerce showed sound momentum.


Customs data show that in the first three quarters, China's cross-border e-commerce import and export grew by 20.1%.


Business big data on main cross-border e-commerce import platforms show that Japan, the United States, and South Korea are the top three sources of import.


Fifth, energy storage and power saving products were popular.


As more people shift to a greener life-style, online sales of environmental and energy-saving products rose rapidly. In


September, online retail sales of energy-saving home appliances increased by 60.5% year-on-year; large-capacity mobile power, UPS uninterruptible power supply and other energy storage and lighting products are popular, with online retail sales increasing by 50.8% and 19.4% respectively.




Shu Jueting: This is my briefing to you.


Now I’m ready to take your questions.




South China Morning Post: I have two questions. First, we have noticed that Vice Premier Liu He held a video talk with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen this week. How does China evaluate the outcomes of the talk? What specific issues were discussed by the two sides?


Did they cover the U.S. Treasury bond, exchange rate, inflation rate, debt risks and the arrangements for follow-up negotiations once the China-U.S. Economic and Trade Agreement expires?


Second, do the Minister of Commerce of China and the Secretary of Commerce of the U.S. have any plans to talk again in the near future?




Shu Jueting: As for your first question, the video talk lasted about an hour and a half. The two sides had practical, professional and in-depth exchanges on extensive economic and trade issues.


First, the two sides conducted exchanges and discussions on macroeconomic landscape and policies of China and the U.S., including growth prospects, inflation pressure, financial stability,  supply chain, among others.


The two sides believed that the world economic recovery is at a critical juncture and it is of vital importance for China and the U.S. to enhance macro policy communication and coordination.


Second, the two sides exchanged views on specific issues of cooperation in multilateral and bilateral spheres, such as financial market regulation and cooperation under the G20 Framework.


Third, the two sides stated their respective concerns. China expressed concerns over the removal of tariffs and sanctions by the U.S., fair treatment for Chinese companies and other issues.


Since this May, the Chinese principal has held two video talks each for U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Trade Representative Katherine Tai. China and the U.S. have maintained normal trade and economic communication. The two sides agreed that they will maintain communication at all levels to promote practical cooperation and resolve specific issues to the benefit of the two countries and the whole world.


Regarding your second question, we are always open to the dialogue and communication between the Minister of Commerce of China and the Secretary of Commerce of the U.S.


We will update you in time with any further information.


Thank you.




The Cover: MOFCOM statistics have suggested price rises of both edible agricultural products and means of production. How does MOFCOM view this trend?


What are the measures to ensure supply and stabilize prices?




Shu Jueting: The prices of some edible agricultural products, especially vegetables, and some means of production are rising, due to cooling, rainfall, and other factors.


According to the direction of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, MOFCOM is working actively to ensure supply and stabilize prices. Everyday we follow the market dynamics of daily necessities, such as vegetable, meat, grain and cooking oil, and the market supply and price changes across the nation, especially in regions with reported covid-19 cases. In addition to strengthened monitoring and alarm, MOFCOM has helped regional governments to ensure market supply and steady prices of daily necessities for this winter and next spring. We have improved the joint supply mechanism, timely released government reserves, urged commercial distributors to better match production and sales and increase the stock for peak time, and timely addressed problems.


We have also provided information guidance by publishing statistics, analysis, and projection of key daily necessities and means of productions on MOFCOM website and forecast platforms, with the aim to provide better services for consumption, better guidance on business production, and balance supply and demand.


Thank you.




Economic Daily: On October 26, the 7th meeting of China-UAE Joint Economic and Trade Committee was held successfully. How will the Ministry of Commerce bring bilateral economic cooperation and trade to a higher level?




Shu Jueting: On October 26, Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao, and Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy of the United UAE Emirates, co-chaired the 7th meeting of China-UAE Joint Economic and Trade Committee via video link, exchanging views on BRI business cooperation and the promotion of innovation and green cooperation, reaching extensive consensus.


In recent years, under the strategic guidance of the leaders of the two countries, China-UAE economic cooperation and trade continue to enjoy healthy development. China is the largest trading partner of the UAE, and the UAE is the largest investment destination for China in the Arab region. The fruitful, extensive and in-depth bilateral cooperation is a model of BRI trade and economic cooperation.


The Ministry of Commerce will work with the relevant departments of the UAE to fully implement the important economic and trade consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, and bring China-UAE trade and economic cooperation to a higher level by focusing on the following five aspects:


First, aligning development strategies. Strengthening the alignment of the Belt and Road Initiative with the UAE development strategies, such as "Revitalizing the Silk Road", and keeping deepening and substantiating BRI cooperation between China and the UAE.


Second, promoting trade and investment. Expanding the scale and promoting facilitation of trade and investment cooperation, and actively developing service trade and e-commerce cooperation.


Third, tapping innovation potential. Vigorously promoting cooperation in high-tech and frontier areas, such as artificial intelligence, smart city, new infrastructure and big data, and injecting still more impetus for China-UAE trade and economic cooperation.


Fourth, promoting green development. Strengthening cooperation between the two countries in circular economy, renewable energy, electric vehicles and green infrastructure, among others.


Fifth, practicing multilateralism. Strengthening communication and coordination in the multilateral arena, such as the WTO, and jointly safeguarding the multilateral trading system.


China stands ready to work with the UAE to continue to push forward practical cooperation between the two countries on economic and trade fronts and make joint efforts for the recovery of the world economy.


Thank you.




CNBC: On the morning of Oct 26, China and the United States had a video call. China expressed concerns over the removal of tariffs and sanctions imposed by the United States. Is there any new progress in the removal of tariffs?




Shu Jueting: On October 26, Vice Premier Liu He expressed concerns over the removal of tariffs and sanctions imposed by the United States in a video talk with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.


China believes that, under the current circumstances, removing the tariffs imposed is in the fundamental interests of consumers and producers in China and the United States, and is conducive to the recovery of the world economy.


Thank you.




Shanghai Securities News: Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov recently said that the total trade volume between Russia and China could reach USD125-130 billion in 2021, breaking a historic record.


How does the Ministry of Commerce view the scale and growth rate of Sino-Russian trade this year?




Shu Jueting: Since the beginning of this year, the bilateral trade between China and Russia has shown a strong momentum of growth.


According to Chinese statistics, the bilateral trade volume from January to September reached USD102 billion, an increase of 29.2% year-on-year. For the first time in history, the bilateral trade exceeded the USD100-billion mark in the first three quarters, an increase of 26.7% compared with the same period in 2019 (USD80.5 billion) before COVID-19, and doubled compared with the same period in 2016 (USD50.3 billion) five years ago.


In the first three quarters, China's import from Russia increased by 26.4%, while its export to Russia increased by 32.5%. Trade structure was further optimized, and trade in mechanical and electrical products increased by 39.2%, 10 percentage points higher than that of bilateral trade in the same period.


Based on the current situation, Sino-Russian trade will reach a record high in the whole year of 2021.


In the next step, we will continue to work closely with Russia, fully implement the important consensus of the two heads of state, consolidate the momentum of trade growth, create new growth areas such as digital economy, scientific and technological innovation, bio medicine, and green and low carbon development, improve the stability of the industrial and supply chains, and enhance both the scale and quality of Sino-Russian trade and economic cooperation.


Thank you.




China Business News: Recently, the Ministry of Commerce, the Cyberspace Administration of China and the National Development and Reform Commission jointly issued the 14th Five-Year Plan for E-Commerce Development. What is the background of this Plan and what are the main considerations?




Shu Jueting: At present, China's e-commerce has been deeply integrated into all areas of production and life, and has played a pivotal role in the digital transformation of economy and society.


Recently, the Ministry of Commerce, the Cyberspace Administration of China and the National Development and Reform Commission jointly issued the 14th Five-Year Plan for E-Commerce Development.


According to the overall plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on developing digital economy and building digital China, the Plan makes comprehensive arrangements for the development of e-commerce during the 14th Five-Year Plan period, which is of great significance for guiding the high-quality development of e-commerce in China.


There are four main considerations for the Plan:


First, it further clarifies the new mission of e-commerce in national economic and social development in a new era.


The Plan focuses on the three roles of e-commerce in connecting online and on-site, supply and demand, and domestic and foreign markets, giving e-commerce a new mission of promoting high-quality development of digital economy and helping achieve common prosperity, and clearly stating the development goals of e-commerce during the 14th Five-Year Plan period and the long-term goals till 2035.


Second, it establishes the development principles and policy orientation of e-commerce in a new era.


The Plan follows a people-centered philosophy of development, takes "upholding the right path, innovation and well-regulated development" as the foremost principle, and promotes development and enforces sound regulations at the same time. While pursuing innovation and encouraging the flourishing development of new business models and forms, it also envisages worst-case scenarios, promotes fair competition, intensifies efforts against monopoly and prevents the disorderly expansion of capital.


Third, it represents the meaningful effort to explore the index system for e-commerce development.


On the basis of the original scale indexes, the Plan further supplements three indicators by sector, namely, industrial e-commerce penetration rate, rural e-commerce transaction volume and cross-border e-commerce transaction volume, so as to better reflect the benefits of scale in e-commerce development, more accurately grasp the features and trends of e-commerce development, and preserve space for further improving the index system in the future.


Fourth, it constructs the strategic framework for e-commerce to serve the new development paradigm.


The Plan starts from both domestic and international dimensions, and promotes e-commerce in better serving the new development paradigm.


In promoting the formation of a strong domestic market, the concept of fostering high-quality digital life was put forward for the first time to better promote industrial digitization. The plan also further strengthens the important role of digital technology innovation and data drivers in high-quality development of e-commerce, and promotes the development of digital industries.


As for opening-up at a higher level, it is necessary to give full play to the role of e-commerce as the main force in international cooperation in digital economy and digital rule-making, promote the formulation of international digital rules in such areas as cross-border delivery, personal privacy protection and cross-border data flow, promote international cooperation and advocate openness and win-win results.


Thank you.




Phoenix TV: On October 26, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission issued an order to revoke and terminate China Telecom Americas' Section 214 authority to operate in the U.S.


What is the comment of MOFCOM?




Shu Jueting: China has noticed that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission decided to revoke China Telecom 's Section 214 authority to operate in the US.


This move by the U.S. side overstretches the notion of national security, abuses state power, suppresses Chinese companies in a groundless and malicious manner. This runs counter to market principles and poisons the atmosphere for bilateral cooperation, about which China is deeply concerned.


China’s economic and trade team has already made strong representations with the U.S.


The U.S. should redress mistakes and provide a fair, open, just and non-discriminatory business environment for companies investing and operating in the U.S. China will continue to take necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.


Thank you.




The Paper: Recently, the General Office of the Ministry of Commerce issued a message on recommending major renewable resource recycling enterprises in contact, planning to establish a system of major enterprises in contact in the renewable resource recycling sector.


What are the considerations for this system?


What is the next step?




Shu Jueting: Recycling of renewable resources is of great significance for building a recycling system of used materials and waste, relieving resource constraints to economic development, promoting green, low-carbon and circular development, and promoting green development of commodity distribution.


Recently, the State Council issued the Action Plan for Carbon Dioxide Peaking Before 2030, with clear requirements for refining systems for resource recycling.


At present, there are about 90,000 renewable resource recycling enterprises in China with about 13 million employees, and a three-pronged recycling system with recycling stations, sorting centers and distribution markets as the core has been formed.


On the whole, China's recycling players are growing and the recycling volume of major varieties is increasing steadily, but there is still room for improvement regarding well-regulated operation and intensive operation.


The establishment of a system of major enterprises in contact in the renewable resource recycling sector is based on the following considerations:


First, ensuring smooth communication channels between the government and enterprises, and understanding the difficulties and policy needs of enterprises in a timely manner.


Second, strengthening sectoral analysis and grasping the development status and trends of the sector.


Third, leading the innovative development of the sector, and summarizing and applying new recycling models such as "Internet+Recycling".




In the next step, on the basis of local recommendation, we will decide on and publish the list of major enterprises in contact, and establish and improve the dynamic management mechanism, as some are coming in while others are going out.


Our work is focused on the following three areas:


First, improving the policy environment and studying and solving common problems of the sector.


Second, encouraging pioneers and paying attention to major reform and innovation measures of major enterprises in contact.


Third, implementing major tasks and guiding major enterprises in contact to take the lead in plastic pollution control and other work.


Thank you.




Shu Jueting: Do you have any other questions?


If not, that’s all for today’s press conference.