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Regular Press Conference of the Ministry of Commerce (September 10, 2020)

Gao Feng: Friends from the media, good afternoon. Welcome to the regular press conference of MOFCOM. First, I have an announcement to make.

1. About the 128th Canton Fair
The 128th China Import and Export Fair (hereinafter referred to as the Canton Fair) will be held online from October 15-24, with an exhibition period of 10 days. To hold the Canton Fair online is conducive to further playing its role as an all-round open platform for foreign trade, promoting the stable and healthy development of foreign trade in a time of normalized epidemic prevention and control, and to ensuring an unimpeded foreign trade industry chain and supply chain. We will work hard to provide better and more convenient services for the exhibitors and buyers. Chinese and foreign enterprises and buyers are welcome to actively participate in the exhibition and do business.

That’s all for my announcement. I am willing to answer your questions. The floor is open.

Securities Times: In August, China's import and export maintained a good momentum of recovery. What is MOFCOM’s expectation of the import and export for the whole year? In terms of stabilizing foreign trade, what are the priorities for the fourth quarter?

Gao Feng: In the first eight months of this year, China's import and export is gradually stabilizing and improving, which is better than expected. In terms of this year’s foreign trade, on the one hand, the industry has enjoyed support. The State Council has introduced a series of measures to stabilize foreign trade since the start of this year. These efforts continue to pay off. The international market demand has partially picked up. The PMI indices of some major economies improved in August. On the other hand, foreign trade is faced with “pressure”. The pandemic has yet to be fully and effectively controlled. The international market demand shrinks sharply. The latest WTO Goods Trade Barometer hits a record low. Unilateralism and protectionism are on the rise. Uncertainties and destabilizing factors increase significantly. The situation facing the development of China's foreign trade remains challenging and complex.

In the next step, we will focus on the targets and tasks proposed in the "Report on the Work of the Government" to work for more stable and higher quality imports and exports throughout the year, and focus on the following tasks: First, pay close attention to implement policies on keeping foreign trade stable to ensure that the relevant policies would benefit market players as soon as possible. Second, give full support to enterprises to secure orders and organize the 128th Canton Fair. Third, accelerate the creation of new forms of business and models in foreign trade. Fourth, actively expand the exports of daily necessities, continue to do a good job in exporting epidemic prevention materials, strictly control export quality, and regulate the order of export. Fifth, well implement the Opinions of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on Promoting the High-quality Development of Trade, and promote the innovative development of trade. Sixth, guide the gradient transfer of processing trade and keep the development of processing trade stable. Seventh, actively promote the innovative development of border trade. Eighth, actively expand imports, well organize the Third China International Import Expo, and speed up the development of import trade promotion and innovation demonstration zones. Ninth, support the transfer of products intended for export to domestic sales. Tenth, continue to improve the level of trade facilitation. Thank you!

Nikkei: In recent months, the amount and quantity of imported semiconductors have been increasing year on year. On the other hand, the US government will impose stricter export restrictions on Huawei from mid-September. How does the Ministry of Commerce view the relationship between recent semiconductor imports and the measures to be taken by the US government?

Gao Feng: In the first eight months of this year, China's imports of integrated circuit added up to RMB 1.5 trillion, a year-on-year increase of 15.3%, or 17.6 percentage points higher than China's foreign trade imports. In recent months, the main reason why China's IC imports keep increasing was the recovery of market demand. The changing lifestyle caused by the epidemic stimulated the demand for integrated circuits, such as telework, distance education, Internet-based medical service, etc., which drive the demand for servers, personal computers, tablets, medical electronics and other products. In addition, China's 5G network is developing, while enterprises are taking into account the impact of the epidemic on the supply chain, actively stocking up and increasing procurement of relevant products. Such efforts have also promoted the growth of IC imports. As a large manufacturer of electronic products in the world, China's demand for semiconductor has steadily increased, which has become a main driver for the growth of the global semiconductor market. Thank you!

Yicai: Since the 2020 CIFTIS opened, the digital economy and trade have drawn people’s attention. Shanghai, Beijing and some other localities have put forward plans to speed up the development of digital trade. Will MOFCOM introduce policies and plans in this regard?

Gao Feng: These years, with digital technologies developing rapidly and applied widely, the booming digital economy and trade have become highlights in national economic growth and international trade and economic cooperation.
Following the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, MOFCOM works with relevant departments to help accelerate the growth of digital trade. First, we are moving faster to improve top-level design. Since the beginning of this year, MOFCOM has been working together with the Cyberspace Administration of China and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) to study the institutional framework, put forward a work plan and set up an expert working group on digital trade. Second, we are studying digital trade policies. We will join hands with relevant departments to carry out in-depth policy research on digital trade, an emerging trade form, so as to put forward a well-designed policy framework and specific measures, and create an enabling policy environment for its growth. Third, we are intensifying digital trade practices. At the beginning of this year, MOFCOM, the Cyberspace Administration of China and the MIIT selected the first 12 bases for digital services export after comprehensive evaluation. We will support and guide these bases in carrying out trailblazing pilot programs, so that we can improve digital trade policies and mechanisms in practice.
Going forward, MOFCOM will work with the Cyberspace Administration and other departments to further advance the pilot program of innovative development of the services sector. Digital trade will figure prominently in the next round of piloting. We will guide relevant localities in their pioneering efforts to keep optimizing the allocation of digital resources so as to tap China’s potential in developing the digital economy and trade. Thank you.

Gao Feng: This is the end of today’s press conference. Thank you all.

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

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