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MOFCOM Holds the Press Conference on the 3rd China-Mongolia Expo

[Gao Feng]: Dear friends from the press, good morning. You are welcome to attend the press conference on the 3rd China-Mongolia Expo. Attending are Assistant Minister of Commerce Mr. Ren Hongbin, Minister of Food, Agriculture, animal husbandry and Light Industry of Mongolia Mr. Ulaan, and Vice Chairman of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Ms. Ai Lihua. I am Gao Feng, the Deputy Director of the General Office of the Ministry of Commerce, the host of today鈥檚 press conference and the spokesperson. Today, Assistant Minister Ren Hongbin will introduce the economic and trade relations between China and Mongolia and the relevant situation of the 3rd China-Mongolia Expo. Minister Ulaan will introduce the relevant situation about Mongolia鈥檚 preparation for the China-Mongolia Expo. Vice Chairman Ai Lihua will introduce the overall preparation and comprehensive guarantees for the 3rd China-Mongolia Expo. They will answer the questions from the press later. Next, I would like to ask Assistant Minister Ren Hongbin to introduce the relevant situation.

[Ren Hongbin]: Dear Minister Ulan, Vice Chairman Ai Lihua, friends from the press, good morning. I am very happy to attend the press conference of the 3rd China-Mongolia Expo today. First of all, on behalf of the Ministry of Commerce, I would like to thank all the friends from the media for your concern and support for the work of the Ministry of Commerce. China and Mongolia are good neighbors linked by mountains and rivers. In recent years, with the continuous strengthening of political and mutual trust between the two countries, bilateral economic and trade cooperation has made great progress. The development of bilateral relations has entered a fast lane and brought real benefits to the two peoples. My introduction falls into two parts.

First of all, the latest progress of China-Mongolia economic and trade cooperation. First, bilateral trade continued to expand. In 2018, the bilateral trade volume was US$7.99 billion, with an increase of 24.7%. In January-April this year, the bilateral trade volume reached US$2.56 billion, with an increase of 14.5%. Second, China鈥檚 investment in Mongolia has been growing steadily. As of April 2019, China鈥檚 investment in Mongolia reached US$4.8 billion, accounting for 30% of the total foreign investment. China is Mongolia鈥檚 second largest source of foreign investment. Third, economic and technological cooperation continued to deepen. Over the years, China has provided assistance to Mongolia within its ability for many years, helping Mongolia build a number of infrastructure and livelihood projects such as the national gymnasium and the development center for children with disabilities and training more than 5,300 people in various fields for Mongolia, which have promoted the development of Mongolian economy and society. Fourth, the bilateral cooperation mechanism continued to be innovated. The two sides actively played the role of the China-Mongolia Joint Economic and Trade Commission to coordinate and promote bilateral pragmatic cooperation. Positive progress was made in the construction of major projects, and the construction of the Erenhot-Zamyn-Uud Economic Cooperation Zone was jointly promoted. The joint feasibility study of the China-Mongolia FTA went on smoothly.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Mongolia. The relationship between the two countries faces new historical opportunities. In April this year, during his talk with Mongolian President Battulga who was on a state visit to China and attended the Belt and Road China-Mongolia Expo Forum for international cooperation, President Xi Jinping emphasized that the China and Mongolia should strengthen political leadership and strategic communication, actively promote the connection between the Belt and Road Initiative and the "Development Road" to promote more substantial results in the construction of China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor. China will continue to actively support Mongolia's economic development and improvement of people's livelihood with the philosophy of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit, and inclusiveness, and work together to build China-Mongolia relations that meet the requirements of the times and lift the bilateral relations to a new level.

Now I will briefly introduce the basic situation of the China-Mongolia Expo.

When President Xi Jinping visited Mongolia in August 2014, he and Mongolian leaders jointly discussed and organized the China-Mongolia Expo, which is another important platform for the Chinese government to promote economic and trade cooperation and cultural exchanges between China and Mongolia and even Northeast Asia. After several years of preparation, China-Mongolia Expo has developed into an important platform for economic and trade exchanges and cooperation between the two countries. The China-Mongolia Expo will be held in mid-September in Ulanqab and Hohhot, Inner Mongolia. Themed on 鈥渃onstructing China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor to promote regional cooperation in Northeast Asia,鈥 the expo has an exhibition area of 80,000 square meters, and will hold more than 10 investment and trade promotion and conference forums. As one of the organizers of the China-Mongolia Expo, MOFCOM has been actively supporting all sides concerned to jointly organize the expo well. The current international economic situation is complex and changeable. Multilateralism and free trade are seriously challenged. In particular, we need to eliminate all kinds of interference and strengthen cooperation among countries in the region. By making good use of the China-Mongolia Expo as an open international platform, we are willing to work together with all sides to develop wisdom and expand cooperation themed on the Belt and Road Initiative, the construction of China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor and the active integration into the Northeast Asian economic circle for the sake of making greater contributions to the economic prosperity and development of China, Mongolia and Northeast Asia. We also sincerely anticipate and welcome the high-level delegations from all countries to attend the China-Mongolia Expo and related forums, and welcome enterprises from all over the world to participate in the conference.

Finally, I wish the 3rd China-Mongolia Expo a complete success! Thank you all.

[Gao Feng]: Thank you for your introduction, Assistant Minister Ren Hongbin. Next, please welcome Minister Wu Lan to introduce the relevant situation.

[Ulaan]: Assistant Minister of Commerce Mr. Ren Hongbin, Vice Chairman Ai Lihua of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and friends from the media, I am very happy to represent the Mongolian government to attend the press conference on the China-Mongolia Expo. First of all, this year coincides with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between China and Mongolia and the 25th anniversary of the revision of the China-Mongolia Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation. The holding of the third China-Mongolia Expo in such a special year is of great commemorative significance. According to the relevant documents signed between China and Mongolia during President of the People鈥檚 Republic of China Mr. Xi Jinping鈥檚 visit to Mongolia in 2014, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Husbandry and Light Industry of Mongolia, the Ministry of Commerce of China, and the People's Government of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China held the 1st China-Mongolia Expo in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia in 2015. In 2017, the 2nd China-Mongolia Expo was held with very satisfactory results achieved. It is very gratifying to see that China-Mongolia Expo has functioned as an important platform in economic, trade, culture, education, investment and cooperation. The Chinese and Mongolian governments have given this event a very high evaluation and recognition, and the participation enthusiasm of the companies is very high.

China and Mongolia, who are close neighbors with broad prospects for cooperation, have more than 4,700 kilometers of borderline, and the economic and trade fields have strong complementary advantages.

65.2% of Mongolia鈥檚 total trade volume came from its operation with China. According to the statistics of 2018, the total foreign trade volume between China and Mongolia was 8.4 billion US dollars, up 21% year on year. China's investment in Mongolia reached 4.8 billion US dollars. Among these, 48% were invested in geology, mineral exploration and mining, while 21% were invested in trade and public catering. The China-Mongolia Expo has positive significance in optimizing China-Mongolia trade structure, diversifying export, and increasing the export of value-added products and non-mineral products.

The Mongolian government will focus on the geographical advantages of the two countries to hold pragmatic cooperation in various fields, actively participate in the construction of the China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor based on China's Belt and Road Initiative, and continuously develop economic and trade exchanges with the rest of the world. To achieve this goal, the China-Mongolia Expo will play an important role.

1,300 Mongolian delegates attended the second China-Mongolia Expo held in 2017 and 240 representatives attended the cultural and sports activities. About 720 Mongolian exhibitors achieved the sales of 6.8 million in five days, increasing by 5 times over that of the first expo. The companies from the two countries signed 18 cooperation agreements with the value of about US$843 million. At present, these agreements are being implemented.

The third China-Mongolia Expo will be themed on building the China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor and promoting cooperation in Northeast Asia. It will be divided into four sections, including exhibitions, investment projects promotion, conferences and forums and cultural exchanges, and 16 events. Now the work in all aspects is being carried out orderly. As everyone knows, the heads of two countries proposed the goal of achieving a bilateral trade volume of 10 billion US dollars by 2020. To achieve this goal, we believe that the third China-Mongolia Expo to be held in mid-September 2019 in Hohhot and Ulanqab of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China will play an important role. We are confident in hosting this expo under the joint efforts of both parties. Thank you.

[Gao Feng]: Thanks for the introduction from Minister Ulaan. Next I will give the floor to Vice President of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Ai lihua.

[Ai lihua]: Distinguished Minister Ulaan, Assistant Minister Ren Hongbin, friends from the press, good morning. First of all, on behalf of the organizing committee of the third China-Mongolia Expo and the People's Government of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all the friends for your concerns and coverage of this expo and for the support in the economic and social development of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

In recent years, China-Mongolia relations have developed smoothly. China has become Mongolia's largest trade partner for ten consecutive years. Holding the China-Mongolia Expo is important for implementing the Belt and Road Initiative, strengthening the construction of China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor, and implementing the Joint Declaration on the Establishment and Development of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between China and Mongolia in 2014. The third China-Mongolia Expo will thoroughly implement the important instructions put forward by General Secretary Xi Jinping in the congratulations on the first China-Mongolia Expo: 鈥渕aking the China-Mongolia Expo an important platform for strengthening economic and trade cooperation and people to people exchanges between China and Mongolia and for Northeast Asia.鈥We will set building the China-Russia Economic Corridor and promoting regional cooperation in Northeast Asia as the theme of this expo. We will strive to integrate into the Northeast Asian economic circle through the China-Mongolia Expo, continuously expand the extensive ties and cooperation between Inner Mongolia and the rest of the world, accelerate the construction of China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor, and make further progress in the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative. Now, let me give a brief introduction to the preparations.

I. Sincerely inviting guests from all sides

According to the guiding principles and theme of the third China-Mongolia Expo, the domestic guests invited by the organizing committee include: national leaders, state ministries and commissions, leaders of social organizations, leaders of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Macao Special Administrative Region and the business community, heads of domestic large enterprises, leading enterprises and associations of related industries, business association, experts, scholars and heads of the Inner Mongolia Chamber of Commerce in provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in China and related countries and regions. The invited foreign guests include: Mongolian national leaders, officials of Mongolian ministries, provinces, cities and the Mongolian embassy in China, officials of Russian ministries, states, cities, republics and the Russian embassy in China, and the business community, official representatives and related personnel of Northeast Asian countries, the "Belt and Road" countries, the SCO member states and relevant countries, and ASEAN member countries, official representatives of the countries and regions that have established friendly relations with the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and representatives of some of the world top 500 enterprises and their agencies in China. The Expo has invited about 6,000 domestic and foreign guests and exhibitors.

[Ai Lihua]: II. Carefully arranging activities

The third China-Mongolia Expo will hold the opening ceremony, regional cooperation summit and four sections including exhibition, investment and trade promotion, conferences and forums, and cultural exchange activities. The exhibition section is divided into image exhibition and commodity exhibition and sales. The image exhibition displays the images of Mongolia, Japan, Russia and some countries along the鈥淏elt and Road鈥漴outes. It includes the exhibition of China-Mongolia cooperation in education, science and technology, medical care and health, and image exhibitions of important regional economies such as Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, Northeast Revitalization, Yangtze River Delta, Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, domestic provinces and autonomous regions and cities, and Inner Mongolian advantageous specialty industry exhibition. The commodity exhibition and sales includes Mongolian specialty exhibition and sales, international and domestic commodity exhibition and sales, Inner Mongolian green agricultural and livestock products, and the exhibition and sales of Mongolian medicine and special tourism commodity. The investment and trade promotion section includes China-Mongolia regional cooperation and key port economic cooperation projects, China-Japan investment and trade cooperation projects, Mongolia-Hong Kong-Macao economic and trade cooperation projects, Inner Mongolia ecological civilization construction and green economy projects, and the Belt and Road international tourism projects. The conferences and forums section includes the Northeast Asia Regional Cooperation Summit held at the opening ceremony and the China-Mongolia Advantageous Industry Cooperation and Development Forum. The cultural exchange activities section includes the opening ceremony gala, the third China International Exhibition of Mongolian Dance Art, the College Football Competition of SCO Countries, the first food culture festival of countries along the 鈥淏elt and Road鈥routes, the Silk Road鈥檚 and the Northeast Asian culture and art discussion. At present, the preparatory work of various activities is progressing orderly.

Dear friends, the golden autumn of September is the most beautiful season in Inner Mongolia. On behalf of Government of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, I warmly hope to meet and gather with all the friends in Inner Mongolia, share opportunities, develop friendship and seek common development.

Finally, I would like to thank all the friends from the press for your concerns and support for the third China-Mongolia Expo. I wish you successful career and good health! Thank you.

[Gao Feng]: Thank you for your introduction, Vice President Ai Lihua. Now let us come to the Q&A session. Please ask the questions regarding the theme of today鈥檚 press conference. As always, please tell us the name of your agency before raising your question.

銆怑conomic Daily銆慣his year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Mongolia. What opportunities could this present to China-Mongolia trade and economic development?

銆怰en Hongbin銆慜ver the past 70 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties, China and Mongolia have witnessed stronger political mutual trust and closer commercial cooperation. In particular in recent years, there have been frequent high-level mutual visits between the two countries. Since 2018, three meetings have been held between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Mongolian President Battulga, where they reached broad consensuses, laid out the direction for the long-term development of bilateral relations, and brought the commercial cooperation to a higher level with new development opportunities. Just now I mentioned that out bilateral trade volume approached USD8 billion in 2018, a year-on-year increase of 24.7%. Minister Ulaan also introduced hat both sides set the trade target of USD10 billion by 2020. We are willing to make joint efforts to strive to achieve that target by 2020.

For years China has remained the largest trading partner and the second largest source country of foreign investment of Mongolia. Currently the two sides are vigorously pushing forward Zamyn Uud-Erlian Economic Cooperation Zone. Positive progress has been achieved in the joint feasibility study of China-Mongolia Free Trade Zone. I believe that amidst the rise of reversing trend of globalization, unilateralism and trade protectionism, the joint feasibility study and the implementation of China-Mongolia Free Trade Zone in Northeast Asia not only boosts our bilateral trade and investment cooperation, but also greatly advances the multilateral trading system and free trade. Therefore, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Mongolia, I鈥檓 convinced that both sides will make full use of this historic opportunity to continue to implement the consensuses reached by the leaders of the two countries, push forward bilateral practical cooperation especially on trade, investment and key projects, and make new strides in the new era. Thank you.

銆怣NB銆慣he third China-Mongolia Expo is going to be held this year. Both sides attach great importance to this expo. As China and Mongolia celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties, how will that facilitate the third China-Mongolia Expo?

銆怉i Lihua銆慣hank you for your attention to and care for the third China-Mongolia Expo. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People鈥檚 Republic of China and the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Mongolia. Therefore this year has special meaning to both of us. That explains why this year鈥檚 China-Mongolia Expo receives wide attention both from home and abroad, which would further enhance the scale and level of this expo.

First, both countries attach great importance to this expo. Serving as an important platform for trade and economic cooperation between the two governments, the China-Mongolia Expo has received full recognition and attention from the leaders of the two countries. This year鈥檚 expo will stand at a higher level compared with the previous two in terms of the ranks, numbers of participating guests and the areas it touches upon. I believe that the third China-Mongolia Expo will become a much-anticipated, content-rich and grand gathering in the history of China-Mongolia relations.

Second, this year鈥檚 expo will be more practical. As regards promoting regional cooperation, the expo will promote a number of practical cooperation projects on trade, economy and tourism, based on countries along the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, the Belt and Road Initiative and the Tea Road. As regards industrial cooperation, the expo will hold an array of activities with the focus on Mongolian medicine and drugs, cashmere products, among other competitive products of China and Mongolia, to enhance the exchanges and cooperation between the two countries and the world, step up the development of the two countries鈥competitive industries and strengthen their core competitiveness on the international market.

Third, this year鈥檚 expo will offer a broader horizon. Based on the close bilateral cooperation, the third China-Mongolia Expo will put more emphasis on multilateral cooperation. Compared with the previous two expos, this year we will invite Northeast Asian countries and Belt and Road countries to attend the expo. By doing so, the expo, both in terms of the scope of invitation and the design of activities, will offer opportunities to explore broader cooperation between China and Mongolia and the rest of the world, thus building the comprehensive platform of China-Mongolia Expo into an important bond and bridge for foreign cooperation of China and Mongolia.

銆怤MTV銆慚y question is for Minister Ulaan. What preparatory work has Mongolia done for the third China-Mongolia Expo?

銆怳laan銆慣hank you for your question. This year we are going to hold the third China-Mongolia Expo, which coincides with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Mongolia. The two countries have determined to hold 70 large events this year. We have established the preparatory working group for the third China-Mongolia Expo at the level of the Mongolian government, and corresponding organizations for each of the activities of the expo. The Vice Chairwoman of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Ms Ai Lihua paid two visits to Mongolia to discuss the preparation of the expo and how to further promote bilateral cooperation. We will hold an international cashmere products trade fair during the third China-Mongolia Expo. Both China and Mongolia are large producers of cashmere products. I believe that the expo will further enhance our cooperation in this area. Our Mongolian producers will also gain benefits from the expo, through which we can receive more Chinese investment, thus promoting the bilateral cooperation. Thank you.

CBN TV: The 1st and 2nd China-Mongolia Expo have been great success. What are the expectations for the 3rd Expo from the Mongolian side and the public?

Wulan: Thank you for the question. As I said, the past two sessions of the Expo have delivered remarkable results, and there鈥檚 reason to believe the scope of cooperation will be broadened at the 3rd Expo. This year, more exhibitors and government officials will attend the Expo than the first two years, and new areas of cooperation will be explored. I believe the greater attendance by the exhibitors and governments will enrich this year鈥檚 Expo and make it a colorful event. The specialty industries of Mongolia will be promoted at the Expo. I believe this Expo will contribute to the development of the two countries, including the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, especially in commerce, culture and people-to-people exchanges. Thank you.

China Media Group: Inner Mongolia has been at the forefront of opening-up of the country. What measures have been taken to leverage its geographical advantage and advance the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor? What progress has been made?

Ai Lihua: In recent years, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region has established clear target in opening-up, leveraged its geographical strength, developed and implemented concrete and workable plans for opening-up. We have promoted the development of the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor and integrated into the Belt and Road Initiative, achieving sound progress. First, we strengthened policy communication. We improved the multi-layered consultation and meeting mechanisms with Mongolia and Russia, with more frequent high-level exchange of visits. We established a joint meeting mechanism for China-Mongolia-Russia tourism development, and forged 20 pairs of sister cities with Mongolia and 10 pairs with Russia. Second, we improved connectivity. We have built open platforms for cooperation. The development of the opening-up experimental zone in Manchuria and Erenhot are well under-way, the pioneering zone for China-Mongolia-Russia cooperation in Hulunbuir and border trading zone between Manchuria and Erenhot are operating steadily. We have also strengthened the construction of passages and completed the railway electrification project between Manchuria and Chita. Almost all the port and border cities are connected to the major inland cities with high-grade highway. Third, we promoted unimpeded trade flows. 78 freight train services, including the Suzhou-Manchuria-Europe and Zhengzhou-Erenhot-Europe routes have been opened. 12 routes of the China-Europe Railway Express are running regularly through the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Moscow freight train logistics center is up and running. In 2018, the region imported and exported USD 69.9 billion worth of goods, up by 15% and taking up 68% of the total import and export of the region, 1.3 percentage points higher than China鈥檚 trade with Belt and Road countries in the same period. Regarding connectivity and funding and people-to-people exchanges, Inner Mongolia has done a lot of pioneering work, to good effect. Going forward, we will continue to improve the trade mix, unlock cooperation potential, step up coordination and communication under the guidance of the philosophy of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit, and take the development of China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor to a new height. Thank you.

Gao Feng: Any more questions?

If not, this is the end of the press conference. Thank you.

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