Ministry of Commerce Held Regular Press Conference




October 21, 2021


Shu Jueteng: Good afternoon everyone.


Welcome to MOFCOM’s regular press conference.


At the outset, I’d like to make an announcement.




It’s about China’s outbound investment cooperation in the first three quarters of 2021.


From January to September, 2021, China’s non-financial ODI stood at RMB522.76 billion, down by 5.2% year-on-year (equivalent to USD80.78 billion, up by 2.4% year-on-year).


Turnover of foreign contracted projects was RMB695.29 billion, up 9% year-on-year (equivalent to USD107.44 billion, up 17.7% year-on-year).


The value of newly-signed contracts amounted to RMB 1032.96 billion, down 1.7% year-on-year (equivalent to USD159.62 billion, up 6.2% year-on-year).


232,000 workers were sent overseas for labor cooperation. By the end of September, 604,000 workers were working abroad. China’s outbound investment cooperation bears the following features:


First, investment cooperation with B&R countries continued to grow.


From January to September, our non-financial direct investment in B&R countries reached USD14.87 billion, up 14.2% year-on-year and accounting for 18.4% of the total, 1.9 percentage points higher than the same period last year.


Contracted projects in the B&R countries completed a turnover of USD61.8, an increase of 16.3% year-on-year. The newly-signed contracts amounted to USD80.81 billion, down 3.5% year-on-year.


Second, outbound investment in multiple sectors kept rising.


From January to September, manufacturing received USD13.66 billion of investment, up 9.3% year-on-year. Investment in information transfer/software and IT services reached USD6.2 billion, up 37.2% year-on-year.


Investment in transport, scientific research, technological services and other sectors also registered a momentum of growth.


Third, outbound investment at local levels accounted for nearly 80% of the total.


From January to September, local enterprises made USD61.91 billion of non-financial ODI, up by 8.5% year-on-year and accounting for 76.6% of the total ODI.


Fourth, many of the newly-signed contracts were large projects. From


January to September, there were 574 newly-signed projects valued over USD50 million, 56 more than the same period of last year. The total contractual value of these projects, which mainly related to transportation and general construction, amounted to over USD136.51 billion, accounting for 85.5% of the total.


Without further announcement to make, I’d like to open the floor for questions.




Yicai TV: According to the latest WTO data, China’s international market share of imports increased by 0.7 percentage points year-on-year to reach 12% in the first half of the year, accounting for 15% of global import growth.


How do you see China’s foreign trade development?




Shu Jueteng: China has unswervingly promoted high-level opening-up and actively expanded imports. It has also remained the world’s second largest import market for 12 consecutive years and a major export destination for many countries and regions.


In the first three quarters of this year, China’s imports reached nearly USD 2 trillion, a year-on-year increase of 32.6%, hitting a historic new high.


While expanding imports, China is also connecting the domestic market with the international one to share resources, so that the Chinese market could be a global market shared by all and for the benefit of all.


While upholding the philosophy of openness, cooperation, solidarity and win-win results, China will continue to fully leverage the role of platforms, such as the CIIE, to better incubate innovation demonstration zones for the promotion of national imports, promote trade liberalization and facilitation and improve business environment. China is ready to work with other countries to share development opportunities through openness and jointly promote world economic recovery and growth.




International Business Daily: Recent MOFCOM data shows that the downward pressure on new car sales has mounted. What are the reasons behind it?


Are there any measures in the next step?




Shu Jueting: There are two perspectives on the reasons of the downward trend.


From a short-term perspective, as Covid-19 had been under control during the same period last year, the demand for car consumption had rebounded, resulting in a higher base. Recently, due to impacts of sporadic cases in multiple areas and ongoing shortage of car chips, the production and consumption demand for cars have slowed down.


From a long-term perspective, after years of rapid growth, China’s car market development has gradually stabilized.


Generally, China’s car market remained stable and positive in the first three quarters of this year, with all major indicators outperforming the pre-pandemic level.


There are mainly two characteristics:


First, regarding the whole industrial chain, the car aftermarket is more dynamic than the new car market.


From January to September, the trading volume of used cars exceeded 12.96 million, an increase of 35.3% and 22.5% over the same period in 2020 and 2019 respectively. The ratio of used cars to new cars traded reached 0.76 in September. From January to September, the recycling volume of scrapped motor vehicles reached 2.016 million, an increase of 35.9% and 27.3% over the same period in 2020 and 2019 respectively.


Second, as to new car sales, the sales of new energy vehicles increased significantly and performed better. From


January to September, 2.157 million vehicles were sold, a year-on-year increase of 1.9 times, accounting for 11.6% of total new car sales.


September witnessed another historic new high of monthly NEV sales again.


In the next step, MOFCOM will continue our work and cooperate with other departments to further promote car consumption in the whole industrial chain, and accelerate the building of a new development paradigm of the car market that is characterized by multi-tiered consumption, efficient use and green recycling.


To this end, first, we will continue to streamline administration and delegate power, improve regulation, and upgrade services in car circulation sector. We would adopt measures to further stimulate the vitality and dynamics of the car market.


Second, we will lift the unreasonable restrictions on the trading of used cars to facilitate remote trading of used cars and promote standardized and brand-based development of a large scale, so as to vitalize the market of used cars.


Third, we will improve rules and regulations of the management of car circulation. We will also step up the revision of Measures for the Administration of the Circulation of Used Cars and Standards for Mandatory Scrapping of Motor Vehicles, so as to further improve the car consumption environment.




China Daily: U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said last week that the talk with Vice Premier Liu He got off to “a good start” and that she planned to raise Beijing’s non-compliance with Phase One trade deal in future discussions. What’s MOFCOM’s comment?


Besides, there has been foreign media reports that during their video talk, the two sides “reviewed implementation of the U.S.-China Economic and Trade Agreement”. What’s China’s evaluation of the implementation of the Phase One agreement?




Shu Jueting: On October 9, Vice Premier Liu He and Ambassador Katherine Tai held a video talk, in which the two sides exchanged opinions on the implementation of the China-U.S. Economic and Trade Agreement.


China believes that this agreement is beneficial to China, the U.S., and the whole world at large, and that the two sides should work together to foster atmosphere and conditions to facilitate its implementation.




Economic Information Daily: Recently, the Development Plan for Trade in Services during the Fourteenth Five-Year Plan Period, complied by MOFCOM and other 23 authorities, has been published. What are the key areas of China’s services trade for the Fourteenth Five-Year Plan period?




Shu Jueting: Recently, MOFCOM, the NDRC and other 22 authorities jointly published the Development Plan for Trade in Services during the Fourteenth Five-Year Plan Period, specifying the development goals of services trade for Fourteenth Five-Year Plan period and long-term goals through the year 2035 and putting forward key tasks for services trade in the next stage, which include deepening reform and expanding opening-up, accelerating digitalization, optimizing industrial structure, improving regional layout, nurturing market entities and advancing international cooperation.


In compiling the plan, the following aspects were taken into consideration.


First, meeting the trends of trade in services.


In keeping with digital, network and smart application in services trade, the plan dedicated a chapter to services trade digitalization, and incorporated digital trade for the first time in such plans.


In order to implement the major strategic decisions of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality, the plan named green development as one of its principles.


Second, highlighting the leading role of reform and opening-up.


The plan has a special chapter titled “Deepening reform and opening-up of trade in services” that discusses broader services market access, greater openness of cross-border trade in services and high-quality platforms for reform and opening-up, and puts forward a negative-list system for cross-border trade in services, These contents demonstrate China’s resolution and confidence in relentlessly expanding opening-up.


Third, taking a problem-oriented approach to tackle development difficulties.


To address such problems as imbalanced regional development, lack of international competitiveness and insufficient access, the plan gives a systemic account on improving regional layout, cultivating market entities and deepening international cooperation.


Fourth, identifying key steps to transform and upgrade services trade.


The plan contains 14 boxes, covering major actions and programs, including developing demonstration zones for innovation-driven development, digital trade demonstration zones and demonstration zones for international cooperation on services trade, exploring characteristic services export bases, and making the China International Fair for Trade in Services more professional, market-oriented and up to international standards. These are all key steps towards implementation of the plan.


With ongoing improvements of the services trade platforms, innovation-driven development of China’s trade in service will surely pick up speed during the Fourteenth Five-year Plan period.


In the next step, MOFCOM will work with relevant authorities to carry out the tasks of the plan, to achieve high-quality development of China’s trade in services.


Thank you.




Global Times: The ongoing eighth trade policy review of China at the WTO has drawn much attention.


Can you share some information?




Shu Jueting: The eighth WTO trade policy review on China is scheduled for October 20 and 22, and is currently underway.


The eighth review comes as China celebrates the 20th anniversary of its accession to the WTO.


China takes the eighth review seriously.


Yesterday, Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao attended the review virtually and gave a keynote speech, outlining China's new development and new opportunities for the world, China's practical actions in global Covid-19 response, and firm support to the WTO-centered multilateral trading system.


The review will last for two days.


On the first day of the meeting on the 20th, 50 members made interventions.


Members generally recognized China as a major engine of global economic growth, made positive comments on a range of steps taken by China since the last review in July 2018, highly appreciated China's staunch position to uphold the multilateral trading system and promote a greater role of the WTO, and expressed their appreciation for China's help in fighting the epidemic.


China will also respond to members' concerns on the second day of the review tomorrow.


Thank you.




Shanghai Securities News: Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the newly-appointed British Secretary for International Trade, said that China’s continued investment in non-strategic areas is welcome by the UK.


What does the Ministry of Commerce have to say about this?


How do you view the prospect of China-UK trade?




Shu Jueting: The UK is an important market for Chinese enterprises.


More than 800 Chinese enterprises are operating in the UK and deeply integrated with the local community. They have contributed to the trade and economic cooperation between the two countries by earnestly fulfilling their social responsibilities, promoting sustainable development, and creating a large number of local jobs.


China and Britain are important trade and investment partners for each other.


The bilateral trade has shown strong resilience this year.


From January to September, China's investment in the UK exceeded $2 billion, quadrupling year-on-year; bilateral trade exceeded $80 billion, with import from and to the UK increasing by more than 25%, making China its largest source of imports.


Deepened economic and trade cooperation serves the fundamental interests of both countries and peoples.


We hope the UK will continue to adhere to the principle of openness and provide Chinese enterprises with a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment. Thank you.




CNR: My question is about the economic and trade cooperation between China and Egypt. The 8th China-Egypt Joint Economic and Trade Commission was held on October 20. What are the outcomes?


What is the trend of China-Egypt economic and trade cooperation since the last joint commission?




Shu Jueting: This year marks the 65th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between China and Egypt. Under the support and guidance of President Xi Jinping and President Sisi, the comprehensive strategic partnership has kept upgrading.


At the 8th China-Egypt Joint Economic and Trade Commission held by the Ministry of Commerce of China and the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Egypt virtually on October 20, the two sides exchanged views and reached broad common understanding on the implementation of the consensus between the two leaders and ways to deepen mutually beneficial economic and trade cooperation, delivering pragmatic, efficient, and successful results.


Three side events were also held, including the third Intergovernmental Coordination Committee meeting of the China-Egypt Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone on October 18, the upcoming China-Egypt Economic and Trade Cooperation Seminar on October 27, and the fifth meeting of the China-Egypt Trade Remedies Cooperation Mechanism on October 28.


Since the last JCC, China and Egypt have joined hands and rendered mutual support. Bilateral economic and trade cooperation continued to move forward despite the impact of Coivd-19, setting an example of solidarity and cooperation between developing countries.


China has been Egypt’s largest trading partner for eight consecutive years, with bilateral trade reaching a record high of USD14.53 billion in 2020.


China is one of the most active and fastest growing source of FDI to Egypt.


Landmark projects undertaken by Chinese enterprises, such as the Central Business District of the new administrative capital, and the TEDA Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone, have been hailed by the two presidents as an epitome of China-Egypt economic and trade cooperation.


Since the outbreak of Covid-19, Egypt was one of the first to express solidarity with China and provide in-kind assistance, and was also the first African country to realize local production of Chinese vaccines.


China reciprocated by providing Egypt with several batches of much-needed medical equipment, despite its own shortage of supply.




China is willing to continue the close cooperation with Egypt to implement the consensus of the two leaders in terms of trade and economic cooperation, and work for more tangible results to take China-Egypt economic and trade ties to a new level.




Phoenix TV: Regarding the trade and economic issues between China and the US, we’ve noted Ambassador Katherine Tai’s announcement that the USTR will start a targeted tariff exclusion process and does not rule out the possibility of expanding the list of this process. What is China’s response to this?


Will China reciprocally reduce its tariffs in response?


Have the Chinese and US trade and economic teams any plan to negotiate on specific issues in the near future?




Shu Jueting: We welcome the relevant initiatives of the US. China has always believed that the elimination of additional tariffs is in the fundamental interests of Chinese and American consumers and producers, and facilitates the recovery of the world economy.


The economic and trade teams of the two sides have been maintaining normal communication.


We will release any further information as it becomes available.




AFP: The WTO began its trade policy review of China on October 20. At the meeting, the Australian representative said that China has increasingly tested global trade rules, and that there is a growing gap between China’s rhetoric and action. What is MOFCOM’s comment




Shu Jueting: I’ve already answered the relevant questions on the 8th Trade Policy Review on China, which is currently in progress. China will respond to the members’ concerns at tomorrow’s meeting.


Thank you.




Shenzhen TV: According to the annual report jointly released by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China and Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, Chinese companies in Europe grew against the trend last year despite the impact of Covid-19. Can you brief us on the development of China-EU trade?


What is the outlook for the future?




Shu Jueting: Since the beginning of this year, under the strategic leadership of the leaders of both sides, China-EU trade and economic relations have overcome the impact of the pandemic and shown strong resilience with wider and deeper cooperation.


From January to September, bilateral trade between China and Europe grew against the trend by 30.4% to USD599.34 billion, and is expected to reach a record high for the whole year. Two-way investment has been steadily increasing.


From January to September, China’s direct investment in the EU totaled USD4.99 billion, up 54%, while the EU’s paid-in investment in China was USD3.59 billion, similar to the pre-pandemic level.


The recent report released by the European Union’s Chamber of Commerce in China reflects the enthusiasm and confidence of Chinese enterprises in deepening cooperation on the EU market, but also raises some concerns about the current business environment in Europe.


We hope that the EU can keep its market open and provide a fair and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese enterprises in Europe.


China is accelerating the formulation of a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other.


China is willing to continue to strengthen practical cooperation with the EU in the areas of global economic governance, low-carbon transformation, digital economy, connectivity and third-party market cooperation, jointly maintain the stability of the global industrial and supply chains and contribute to the recovery and development of the world economy.


Thank you.




Bloomberg: When asked about Australia’s trade relations with China a few months ago, Zhao Lijian said that some countries cannot accuse and smear China for no reason while benefiting from doing business with China. Does this mean that the Chinese government will stop trading with these countries because of political strife?




Shu Jueting: Regarding the issue of China-Australia relations you mentioned earlier, China’s position on China-Australia relations has been consistent and clear.


The trade and economic relations between China and Australia is mutually beneficial and win-win by nature. We hope that Australia can make more efforts that are conducive to mutual trust and cooperation between the two countries, and create conditions for the sound and stable development of bilateral economic and trade relations.


Thank you.


Have you any other question?


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