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Regular Press Conference of the Ministry of Commerce (August 22, 2019)
  

Gao Feng: Friends from the press, good morning. Welcome to the MOFCOM regular press conference. Since I don鈥檛 have any announcement to make today, we can proceed directly to the Q&A. The floor is open.

Xinhua News Agency: Previously, the US announced that the tariff on certain products of the US$300 billion of Chinese export would be delayed. What鈥檚 your comment? US President Donald Trump recently expressed his belief that the trade war would 鈥済o fairly short鈥and that the longer it goes the stronger the US will get. What鈥檚 your view? Thank you.

Gao Feng: On your first question: We have taken notice of the US statement. Although the US has delayed the tariff on certain imported Chinese products, any new tariff imposed by the US side will mean unilateral escalation of the trade friction and go against the consensus reached by the leaders at the Osaka meeting. China stands firm in opposition. Should the US be determined to go down the wrong path, China will have to take necessary countermeasures.

In the meantime, the US鈥檚 decision to delay tariff on certain products shows that there is no winner in a trade war and that both American consumers and businesses will suffer tremendously from intensified trade friction. It is hoped that the US could refrain from the wrong approach of imposing additional tariffs and pull in the same direction with China to find solutions on an equal footing and with mutual respect, which will not only serve the interest of both countries, but also benefit the whole world.

On your second question: The history and theories of economy tell us that there is no winner in a trade war. Escalating trade friction is not good for China or the US and will plunge the world economy into recession. It is hoped that the US could refrain from the wrong approach of escalating trade friction unilaterally and work with China in the same direction to solve the problems on an equal footing and with mutual respect. Thank you.

China News Service: President Trump recently said that the US had to 鈥渢ake China on鈥regardless of short-term harm to the US economy because China has been 鈥渞ipping this country off鈥for decades. What鈥檚 your comment?

Gao Feng: The essence of China-US economic and trade cooperation lies in mutual benefit and win-win outcomes. Our bilateral trade has increased 200-plus folds from 1979 when China and the US established diplomatic ties. Our interests have become more and more inseparable in our close cooperation that have benefited not only our peoples but the whole globe. Our economic and trade cooperation on a voluntary basis could not have sustained if only one side had been benefiting from it or if one side had even been 鈥渞ipping off鈥the other.

Given the mere scale of China-US economic and trade cooperation, it鈥檚 natural to have disagreements between us. Nonetheless, the key is to follow the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, and resolve the problems through cooperation and consultation. Thank you.

CNBC: How will China respond to US tariff hikes and tariff delay? Will China impose additional tariffs as well, or release the 鈥淯nreliable Entity List鈥(UEL) officially?

Gao Feng: China鈥檚 position has been consistent and clear: There is no winner in a trade war. China does not want a trade war, but it is not afraid of one and it will fight one if necessary. If the US decides to impose new additional tariffs, China will have to take corresponding measures to defend the interest of its own and of its people. The US should correct its wrong measures and resume to the right track of solving the problems on an equal footing and with mutual respect.

As for Chinese countermeasures, we will release further available information in a timely manner. Thank you.

Bloomberg News: I have two questions. First, will Chinese representatives stick to the original plan to visit the US for negotiations in September, mid-September as what we are aware of, suppose the US decides to impose additional tariffs on certain Chinese products on September 1? Second, when will you release the UEL? And will the list include HSBC, FedEx and the US companies involved in arms sales to Taiwan, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs? Thank you.

Gao Feng: On your first question: At present, there鈥檚 no further information that I can disclose. We will release further available information in a timely manner.

As for the UEL, it is going through internal procedures and will be released soon. Thank you.

Phoenix TV: How will China鈥檚 export and its overall economic growth be influenced if the additional US tariffs on US$300 billion of Chinese products become effective?

Gao Feng: The new US additional tariffs on imported Chinese products damage the interest of both China and the US and may introduce recessive factors to global economy. Nearly 60% of the items on the two lists published by the US are products of which over 75% of the US import comes from China. A US that鈥檚 determined to go down the wrong path will inflict serious negative impact upon its businesses and customers. Some US financial institutions have predicted in their analyses that tariffs will cost an ordinary US household US$1,000 annually. It has also come to our notice that US business and consumer organizations have expressed their positions against additional tariffs.

Although the US moves might pose challenges to China鈥檚 export and economy, their influence are, in general, under control. We have the confidence, determination and capability to deal with any challenge and ensure the sound and stable development of our economy and foreign trade. Thank you.

CCTV-4: Recently, President Trump said that the US and China had been having 鈥減roductive鈥phone talks, expected the meeting to be held in September and did not think that Beijing would retaliate for the US tariffs. What鈥檚 your comment?

Gao Feng: I would like to stress again that China does not want a trade war, but it is not afraid of one and it will fight one if necessary. If the US decides to impose new additional tariffs, China will have to take corresponding measures to defend the interest of its own and of its people. We hope that the US could show sincerity in real actions to work with China in the same direction to properly solve economic and trade problems. Thank you.

China Daily: President Trump said on Twitter that 鈥淲e are doing very well with China, and talking!鈥Is there any plan for future negotiations? In the previous statement, the two sides agreed to start a new round of talks soon. When will it begin and what will be discussed? Besides, have the two sides been in contact recently? Is there any progress?

Gao Feng: In the evening of August 13, Vice Premier Liu He had a phone talk with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthitzer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as previously appointed. The two sides agreed to have talks in two weeks. Chinese and US economic and trade teams have been in touch. we will release further available information in a timely manner. Thank you.

Global Times: Recently we鈥檝e noticed that a gun was found in a FedEx package a US client sent to Fujian Province, China. Will it increase the possibility of putting FedEx on the 鈥淯nreliable Entity List鈥

We have noted relevant reports. The Chinese authorities are investigating the case.

Currently the 鈥淯nreliable Entity List鈥system is undergoing internal procedures. We鈥檝e said that four factors would be taken into account when deciding whether to put a certain entity on the 鈥淯nreliable Entity List鈥 You can refer to the information we have released for more details. China will carry out the work in accordance with relevant laws and regulations. Thank you.

Yicai: In recent days the Department of Commerce of the US announced to once again extend the 鈥渢emporary general export license鈥by another 90 days for Huawei to purchase some of the US products, while putting another 46 Huawei鈥檚 affiliates on the entity list of export control. How does MOFCOM comment on that?

We have noted the US extension and its latest restrictive measure on Huawei. China firmly opposes US undue clampdown on Chinese companies with state power on the ground of national security. On many fronts, Chinese and US companies have grown interdependent on each other in industrial chains. Taking on Chinese companies will finally take a toll on US companies. We hope the US could rectify the situations and treat Chinese companies in a fair, equitable and non-discriminatory manner, which is conducive to both sides鈥businesses, and the safety of global industrial chain and supply chain. Thank you.

CBN Daily: On August 12, the General Office of the State Council released the plan of work priorities specified in the national teleconference on deepening reforms to streamline administration, delegate powers, improve regulation and strengthen services and optimizing business environment. The plan, for the first time, proposed to put in place a revised negative list for market access by the end of this September, reduce the number of items on the list, and further ease market access restrictions with the focus on pilot projects in the service sector. What measures will MOFCOM take, and what supporting regulations will MOFCOM adopt to push for the introduction of the negative list? Thank you.

I think the 鈥渘egative list鈥you are referring to is the unified market access negative list that is applicable to both domestic and foreign companies on a national basis. The NDRC and MOFOCM are further shortening this list according to the requirements of this year鈥檚 government report, so that whatever is not included in the list is allowed into the Chinese market. We have conducted research and studies, held seminars with relevant departments and local authorities, and are stepping up efforts to revise the negative list. We will ensure that the list will be precisely positioned, law-abiding, efficient, unified, well-regulated and as short as possible. We will reduce the items on the list and establish a dynamic list adjustment mechanism which will be launched in the near future. Thank you.

Economic Daily: It is reported that last week the US made lengthy accusations at the WTO against the Appellate Body鈥檚 report that criticized the US countervailing duty measures against China. The US denied the validity of the report on the ground that it had substantive and systemic issues, citing it as evidence to back its long-term criticism against the Appellate Body. The US claimed that without major reforms of the WTO, the organization will never make China assume its responsibility. Mr. spokesman, how would you comment on that?

The DSB adopted the Appellate Body report and Panel report concerning DS437 (Countervailing Measures on Certain Products from China), ruling that 11 countervailing measures of the US had violated WTO rules.

The effective ruling once again shows that the US has violated WTO rules, abused trade remedies, and seriously undermined the fairness and equitability of international trade and the stability of the multilateral trading system. The WTO ruled against the US concerned countervailing measures for multiple times. China urges the US to stop making any excuses, take immediate actions and correct the wrong practices in its countervailing investigation on China. Thank you.

South China Morning Post: Remarks from many US politicians implied that the US intended to link the Hong Kong issue with the trade talks between China and the US. Has the issue of Hong Kong been ever mentioned in the communication between the trade teams of the two sides? How does MOFCOM respond to that?

What I want to stress is that the issue of Hong Kong is China鈥檚 internal affairs. We have noted that President Trump said 鈥淗ong Kong is a part of China. They will have to deal with that themselves. They don鈥檛 need advice.鈥We hope the US could act on what they said. Thank you.

ET Net: It鈥檚 reported that China is making arrangements for the no-deal scenario between China and the US. Could you confirm if it鈥檚 true?

I haven鈥檛 seen any relevant reports. Thank you.

Are there any other questions?

If no, that鈥檚 the end of today鈥檚 press conference. Thank you.



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