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Minister Zhong Shan Attends the Press Conference to Celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China

On the afternoon of September 29, Minister Zhong Shan attended a press conference to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. The record is as follows:

Xi Yanchun, the responsible person of the news center for celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China:

Ladies and gentlemen, journalists and friends, good afternoon! Welcome to attend the press conference. In the past 70 years, China鈥檚 business has gone through an extraordinary journey and achieved remarkable achievements. Today, we are very pleased to invite Mr. Zhong Shan, the minister of the Ministry of Commerce, to introduce the situation of promoting higher levels of opening up and promoting high-quality business development. Vice Minister and Deputy China International Trade Representative Wang Shouwen, and Vice Minister Qian Keming also attended the press conference. First, Minister Zhong Shan will give an introduction.

Minster Zhong Shan:

Thank you host. Dear friends from the press, good afternoon! First, I would like to thank everyone for your concern and support for business work on behalf of the Ministry of Commerce. In the past 70 years, our country has undergone earth-shaking changes, and the commercial business has achieved brilliant results. Especially since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, under the strong leadership of the Central Committee of the CPC with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, business people have not forgotten their initial intentions and always remembered their missions. They have unswervingly expanded opening up, and promoted new developments and new breakthroughs in commercial business. The status of China as an economic and trade power has been further consolidated, and the high-quality development of business has been steadily advanced, making an important contribution to economic and social development. They were mainly reflected in following five aspects:

First, the consumption level rose significantly. At the beginning of the founding of the People's Republic of China, our country was in serious shortage of materials. While after 70 years of development, the supply of goods and services was increasingly abundant, and the scale of consumption continued to expand. The total retail sales of consumer goods increased from 27.7 billion yuan in 1952 to 38 trillion yuan in 2018. China has become the second largest consumer market in the world. The pace of consumption upgrades accelerated, the proportion of service consumption continued to increase, the potential of rural consumption was further released, and new modes such as online shopping developed rapidly. Online retail sales reached 9 trillion yuan in 2018. Consumption has become the first driving force for China's economic growth for five consecutive years, and its fundamental role in economic development has been continuously enhanced.

Second, foreign trade ranked first in the world. China's foreign trade started hard in the blockade. In 1957, our country founded the Canton Fair, which has opened the window to the world. Since the reform and opening up, especially since joining the World Trade Organization, foreign trade has continued to develop rapidly. Our country's total import and export volume in 1950 was only US$1.13 billion with very small scale, but reached US$4.6 trillion in 2018, making China the world's largest trading power. At the same time, the trade structure has been continuously optimized, and mechanical and electrical products and high-tech products have become the main exports, and private enterprises have become the main force of foreign trade. Import and export as well as the trade in goods and services are more coordinated. China鈥檚 imports are US$2 trillion annually. Foreign trade has played an important role in promoting growth, expanding employment, and improving people's living standards, directly or indirectly pulling up the employment of more than 180 million people.

Third, foreign investment attraction ranks high in the world. From special economic zones and development zones to pilot free trade zones and free trade ports, from positive lists to negative list management, from the "three foreign investment laws" to the Foreign Investment Law, we have opened up wider and wider and our business environment has become better and better. China has become a hot spot for foreign investment. The scale of utilizing foreign investment has continued to expand. In 2018, China attracted US$138.3 billion of foreign capital, ranking second in the world. By the end of last year, the accumulated use of foreign investment was US$2.1 trillion, and there were 960,000 foreign investment enterprises. The quality and level of foreign investment continued to increase, and the proportion of foreign investment in high-tech industries and service industries increased significantly. Since last year, a number of new large-scale foreign investment projects were implemented in China. The foreign investment enterprises have contributed to nearly 20% of the tax revenue and played an important role in stimulating innovation vitality and driving industrial upgrading.

Fourth, foreign investment cooperation caught up. China's foreign investment cooperation started late. From the strategy of going global to the Belt and Road construction, more and more enterprises in China have invested overseas in building factories and developing industries. They can be seen all over the world. It can be said that China's foreign investment cooperation has grown small and big from nothing . The outward direct investment in 2018 reached US$143 billion, ranking second in the world. By the end of last year, our stock of foreign investment was nearly US$2 trillion, and there were 43,000 Chinese-invested enterprises overseas. The foreign investment cooperation has expanded the space for enterprise development, and has pushed China's manufacturing and Chinese services to go global. Our outward investment has also greatly promoted local economic and social development.

Fifth, the ability to participate in global economic governance has been constantly growing. We uphold the global governance philosophy of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. China's international status and international influence are constantly improving, and we are approaching the center of the world stage day and night. The joint development of the Belt and Road Initiative has received positive responses from more than 160 countries and international organizations and was highly praised by the international community. We support the multilateral trading system and promote the reform of the World Trade Organization. We have signed 17 free trade agreements, made China's voice heard through the G20, APEC, BRICS and other platforms, proposed China's proposition, promoted the construction of an open world economy, and pushed forward the building of the community of shared future for mankind.. We also proposed to establish the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, successfully hosted the China International Import Expo, and provided more international public goods to the world.

70 years of hard work and 70 years of great achievements have laid a solid foundation for us and accumulated valuable experience. In the new era, facing the unprecedented changes in the world in the past 100 years, we must take the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as the guidance, implement new development philosophy, build a strong domestic market, promote the higher level of opening up, strive to create a new situation of high quality and new commercial development, and make new and greater contributions to realizing the 鈥淭wo Centenary Goals鈥and the Chinese dream of the great Chinese nation rejuvenation!

Thank you all. Next, my colleagues and I are willing to answer questions from the media.

Xi Yanchun: Thank you, Mr. Zhong Shan. Now the floor is open. Please tell us the name of your agency before raising questions.

Phoenix TV: Regarding foreign trade, we know the recent complex and severe international situation has brought pressure and challenges to China鈥檚 foreign trade. What has MOFCOM done to maintain stable development of foreign trade since the beginning of this year and what measure will it take in this regard? Thank you.

Zhong Shan: Thank you for the question. As you mentioned, since the beginning of this year, foreign trade has faced unprecedented challenges coming from both outside and within. It is one of the six areas of China鈥檚 major economic work to maintain stable growth of foreign trade. According to the arrangement of the Central Committee of the CPC and the State Council, MOFCOM has taken various measures and left no stones unturned to promote stable and high-quality development of foreign trade. Those efforts have paid off. First, the scale of foreign trade is stable. We continue to improve services and enhance the level of trade facilitation with new measures in place. Many concrete steps have been taken to resolve problems of businesses. Chinese companies have also met many challenges, especially in the context of trade frictions. However, they have improved their quality by technology upgrade and innovation and enhanced their international marketing networks and competitiveness through exploring market space.

In the first eight months of this year, China鈥檚 imports and exports registered RMB 2.01 trillion, up by 3.6%. China鈥檚 export growth rate is higher than the overall rate of major economies in the world. In a nutshell, China鈥檚 foreign trade has maintained steady performance.

Second, the quality of foreign trade is improving. Exports of high-tech, high-quality and high value-added products have soared. The exports of integrated circuits, complete equipment and pharmaceutical devices have increased faster than the national average level. Chinese telecommunication equipment and new energy vehicles are very popular on the international market. New business models of foreign trade have sprouted up. For example, cross-border e-commerce retail imports and exports rose by 20% and market purchasing-based export increased by 11.2%.

Third, the structure of foreign trade is further optimized. Exports to countries along the Belt and Road accounted for 30.1% of the total. The mix of exported goods continues to upgrade. Machinery and electronic goods and high and new technology products now account for 57.9% and 28.3% of the total exports respectively. The private sector has been further energized with its share of total export reaching 51.4%.

Going forward, we will focus on three aspects. First, policy implementation. We will make sure foreign trade policies are implemented as soon as possible and achieve early results. Second, improving market layout. Centering on the Belt and Road Initiative, we will encourage companies to explore emerging markets and improve international business networks. Third, high-quality development. We will strengthen innovation of technology, institutions, models and business forms to develop high-quality general trade, enhance processing trade and grow trade in other forms. In the meantime, we will take the initiative to expand import, vigorously promote services trade and gain new advantages for foreign trade. We will continue to maintain steady performance of foreign trade to ensure the target of the year is met, thus making a contribution to the sound and stable development of our economy. Thank you.

CCTV: Six years on, the Belt and Road Initiative has delivered remarkable results and garnered more and more support from the international community. What will MOFCOM do to promote BRI cooperation? Thank you.

Qian Keming: Thank you for the question. In the last six years, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, MOFCOM has adhered to the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits and taken concrete measures to promote trade and economic cooperation under the BRI in the spirit of the Silk Road. Positive outcomes have been produced.

First, trade continues to expand. Over the past few years, the share of trade between China and countries along the routes in China鈥檚 total foreign trade has continued to rise. The quality of such trade is also improving.

Second, two-way investment continues to deepen. Chinese companies鈥investment in the countries along the routes has accumulated to over USD 100 billion and their overseas project contract value topped USD 720 billion. The investment from countries along the Belt and Road in China reached USD 48 billion.

Third, construction of major projects and industrial parks moves forward steadily. The China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway, Gwadar Port and other important projects and a series of economic cooperation zones advanced in relevant countries have been carried out with a total investment of more than USD 30 billion. These projects have create over 300,000 jobs for the local community.

Fourth, development of free trade areas is speeding up. China has signed five FTAs with 13 relevant countries. RCEP negotiations have come to a critical juncture. China and the EAEU have substantively concluded the negotiations of the agreement on trade and economic cooperation.

Fifth, cooperation mechanism has been improved. China has set up the bilateral working group on investment cooperation with 37 countries, the working group on trade connectivity with five countries, the working mechanism on e-commerce with 19 countries and cooperation agreement on third-market cooperation with 14 countries.

Going forward, we will proceed with our work in five main areas.

First, building open platforms. We will carefully prepare for the second CIIE and continue to host expositions such as the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo to help more goods and services from countries along the routes enter the Chinese market.

Second, promoting two-way opening of the market. We will deepen connection of development strategies, industries, programs and policies with relevant countries, actively expand import and strive for balanced trade. We will help enterprises to do e-commerce business with relevant countries and negotiate FTAs with more countries while upgrading existing ones.

Third, facilitating trade. We will promote sound and orderly development of the China-Europe freight train services, expand the sources of goods and promote trade facilitation. We will move forward the New Land-Sea Corridor project and improve the logistics hubs, information platforms and supply chains along the route.

Fourth, seeing through important programs. We will act on the principles of high standard, people-centered and sustainable development and carry out a batch of major projects that can deliver overall benefits and be welcomed by all parties. A series of foreign assistance projects will be implemented to enhance local economic and social development and people鈥檚 wellbeing. Great efforts will be made to ensure high quality development of overseas economic and trade cooperation zones. We are ready to conduct third-market cooperation with more countries, in particular developed ones, and international organizations to produce a multiplying effect.

Fifth, improving administration. We will strengthen country-specific guidance for industries, improve the communication and service platforms for overseas companies and outward investment and better regulate companies鈥investment and operation practices. With respect to Chinese companies overseas, we will give full play to the associations of overseas Chinese companies in strengthening self-discipline of industries and supporting services with targeted measures. Thank you.

Market News International:My question relates to China鈥檚 FDI. In view of weak domestic consumption, rising costs, fierce competition and diminishing investment returns, which are compounded by the Trump administration鈥檚 repeated rhetoric against US business investment in China, What is MOFCOM鈥檚 take on FDI appetite and trends in China in the new few years?

Wang Shouwen:Thank you for your question. Indeed, the costs of factors of production have been rising in China in recent years, including labor and land costs. That said, the Chinese economy grew by 6.3% in the first half of the year, which was largely driven by domestic consumption contributing 60% of the growth. This speaks to China鈥檚 huge market and its great appeal to foreign investors.

You also mentioned some economic and trade frictions and restrictions. But the attraction of this enormous market cannot be underestimated. Meanwhile, the Chinese government鈥檚 policy to bring in foreign investment is unequivocal. President Xi Jinping has emphasized many times that China鈥檚 FDI policy will not change, China鈥檚 protection for the lawful interests of foreign-invested enterprises will not change, and China鈥檚 bid to provide better services for FIEs from across the world will not change. Such stability in the FDI environment is very attractive for foreign investors.

As Minister Zhong said, China鈥檚 FDI has ranked the world鈥檚 No.2 for many years. Why is it so successful? First, it鈥檚 because of China鈥檚 sincere support for FDI. Over the past four decades, FDI, creating 10% of China鈥檚 urban employment, 20% of domestic tax revenues, and 40% of import and export trade, has received genuine support from all localities and levels of the government in China. Meanwhile, FIEs have reaped tremendous benefits in the past forty plus years. Take US-invested businesses in China. Their revenues in China hit US$ 700 billion. Many FIEs are selling more in China than in their home markets and have gained huge benefits in China. They value the market and want to come to China. The Chinese government has taken a series of measures to support their access to the Chinese market. Let me give you a few examples. For instance, China has made significant progress in expanding open-up and widening market access for foreign investors.

As you all know, China published its first negative list in 2013 with over 190 restrictions on the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone, as compared to only 37 items of restrictions and bans on foreign investment. Apart from widened access, we also offer greater protection for foreign investment. The Foreign Investment Law that came out this year provides the same treatment to FIEs as domestic companies. In addition, we have also put in place a complaint mechanism for foreign investors and will take further steps to expand facilitation and promotion for foreign investment. For example, nowadays foreign investment in China no longer needs case-by-case approval. 99% of the businesses only need to register with industry and commerce authorities and only 1% need to be approved. We have also drawn up a catalogue of advantageous industries for foreign investment in Central and Western China. Besides, we have strengthened platform building to attract foreign investment with greater efforts to bring in foreign investment in pilot FTZs and development zones. These measures ensure FIEs鈥smooth access to the Chinese market, and real protection for their operation and lawful rights and interests. Moving forward, we will step up the enforcement of these legal policies, further expand open-up, and optimize FDI environment. So overall, our FDI situation is optimistic.

L'Ind茅pendant (Mali):Over the past seventy years, China and Africa have established strong trade ties. Could you brief us on the main achievements between China and Africa? What are the plans for further strengthening and growing the Sino-African economic and trade relations? Thank you.

Qian Keming:Thank you for your question. Thanks to the personal interest of Chinese and African leaders and the joint efforts of China and Africa, Sino-African economic and trade cooperation has achieved leapfrogging development with a shift towards all-dimensional, multilayered and wide-ranging cooperation. China has been Africa鈥檚 No.1 trading partner for ten years in a row. Africa is an emerging hot destination for Chinese investment. As of the end of 2018, China鈥direct investment stock in Africa had exceeded US$ 46 billion. Over 3700 Chinese businesses had invested in Africa. Africa is China鈥檚 second largest overseas contractual engineering market with a newly sign contractual value of US$ 78.4 billion. You probably know that during the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit, President Xi Jinping announced the development of a closer Sino-African community of shared future and the eight major initiatives for Sino-African cooperation for the next three years and the near future, providing political guidance and strategic planning for Sino-African relations in the new era. We will observe the principle of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith, put greater good before self-interest and follow the lead of the Belt and Road initiative and follow through on the eight major initiatives to deepen and substantiate the Sino-African economic and trade relations.

As for future plans, we have many and I won鈥檛 go into the details. Let me highlight three aspects.

First, we鈥檒l help Africa foster capabilities for endogenous growth and move from blood transfusion to blood-making for Africa. We plan to leverage industrial cooperation to support African economic restructuring, especially industrialization, while prioritizing infrastructure to bolster African connectivity and integration process. As we all know, the African FTA is moving forward. For the next steps, regional aviation plans and regional infrastructure connectivity programs will also be advanced. Human resources development will be used to support the translation of demographic dividends into development dynamics. China will connect with African strategies to contribute to the African integration process with emphasis on infrastructure.

Second, we鈥檒l pool resources and forces of all sides. We know that cooperation with Africa is a big chess game. From the Chinese side, the lead of the central government will gradually give way to central-local synergy and the leading role of the government to the coordination between government, business, financial institutions, trade associations and the private sector. Besides, we will fully mobilize external resources, especially developed countries and international institutions, to explore cooperation channels with Africa to amplify benefits through smart leverage.

Third, we鈥檒l drive the upgrade and transformation of the cooperation model. To be specific, three things need to be done. First, we鈥檒l deepen investment cooperation with Africa and actively push more localities and the private sector to invest in Africa to create jobs and foreign currency earnings. We鈥檒l roll out the model of economic and trade cooperation zone. We plan to develop a number of industrial clusters for mining, light industry, textiles, construction materials, home appliances, automotive, and even high technology. Second, we鈥檒l continue to expand Sino-African trade and take multiple steps to expand the imports of non-resource products from Africa. As you all know, we have the CIIE and the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo, which is held specially for African countries. We鈥檒l fully leverage these platforms to expand imports from Africa. Third, we鈥檒l strengthen infrastructure construction. As I mentioned, in terms of the model of infrastructure cooperation, we鈥檒l diversify from EPC to BOT, PPP and investment, construction and operation integration and guide financial institutions and businesses to innovate on investment and financing cooperation models. Thank you.

Economic Daily: We learned that MOFCOM recently held an on-site meeting in Hangzhou for pedestrian street development. Minister Zhong stressed that pedestrian streets are the business cards for a city. What progress has been made in the renovation of pedestrian streets and consumption promotion? What are the plans for future development? Thank you.

Zhong Shan: Thank you for the question. One of the 11 pilot pedestrian streets we launched last year was in Hangzhou. Yesterday it was inaugurated, bustling with life and rich ranges of products. Many new business forms and models emerged. The renovation of pedestrian streets is a concrete action to boost consumption and part of our mission to promote consumption upgrading, foster a robust domestic market and meet people鈥檚 demand for a better life. We mainly focus on three aspects: in terms of urban consumption, we will renovate pedestrian streets expeditiously and develop convenient commercial outlets, such as convenience stores and renovated farmers鈥market. Pedestrian streets can be a great business card for a city, and serve as a platform for consumption upgrading, a driver to high-quality development, and a window for opening-up. This year, the 11 pilot pedestrian streets are making sound progress, with the total turnover of 450 million person times and business turnover of 61.2 billion yuan, up by 19.9% and 12.6%.

In terms of rural consumption, we focus on access to industrial goods in rural areas and the marketing of agro-products in cities. We have promoted e-commerce in rural areas, implemented measures to reduce poverty through e-commerce at a faster pace, energized the rural market and helped with income growth of farmers. We have ensured that e-commerce has entered all of the national-level poor counties with proper conditions, built over 1,700 county-level e-commerce service centers and logistics centers, over 100,500 rural e-commerce service stations, enabling delivery within three days for most products.

In terms of service consumption, we focus on increasing supply. As the traditional consumption develops, demand for new services are also on the rise, such as tourism, culture, healthcare, medical treatment, elderly care, and housekeeping. In 2018, the housekeeping industry in China was valued at RMB576.2 billion, with over 30 million domestic workers, but the demand was still not met. We will reduce poverty by helping poor population get employed as domestic workers, and match the labor force in poor areas with housekeeping companies. This will not only ease the burden for urban families, but also increase income for farmers.
As the National Day holiday is approaching, MOFCOM has visited and surveyed some provinces and cities to learn the supply of consumer goods and pork. According to our knowledge, the nationwide supply is adequate and prices remain stable. We will ensure market supply so that people can enjoy the National Day holiday. Thank you.

Kyodo News Service: Important goals have been set for the China-Japan-ROK FTA negotiations. What are the latest progresses? In the remaining three months of this year, how do you evaluate the prospect of the RCEP negotiations? Thank you.

Wang Shouwen: I鈥檇 like to first say a few words on RCEP. RCEP, once concluded, will be the most promising FTA that covers the largest number of population in the world. Amid rising trade protectionism, the 16 parties are fully aware of the significance of concluding and ratifying such a grand FTA as soon as possible. This year we held two sessions of ministerial meeting, seven sessions of trade negotiation plenum and special meetings. That鈥檚 to say we held negotiations basically every month. We held a ministerial meeting in Beijing last August and in Thailand last September. The ministers reaffirmed the goal set by leaders last year, which is to conclude RCEP negotiations by the end of this year with utmost efforts. We have already accelerated the pace of talks and made important headway in market access. There are very few problems in the negotiation of rules. As for the outstanding issues, the 16 parties decided to hold another ministerial meeting in Thailand this December. China firmly supports the centrality of ASEAN in negotiations and is ready to make joint efforts to keep up the sound momentum and deliver greater progress.

As for China-Japan-ROK FTA, it will be highly meaningful to the economic development and integration of the three East Asian countries, and attracts close attention from the three leaders. President Xi Jinping stressed many times that China is willing to accelerate the negotiations. Now the three parties have agreed to move forward faster. The China-Japan-ROK FTA should be a comprehensive, high-standard, and win-win agreement that is stronger than RCEP. The three parties have agreed to proceed with negative lists in service trade and investment negotiations. We have also decided to hold the 16 round in ROK as soon as possible and try to fit in another round in China by the end of the year. We believe RCEP will serve as a strong foundation for the negotiation of China-Japan-ROK FTA, and the three parties are willing to score more progress on this basis. Thank you.

Beijing Daily: Pork price has been rising fast recently. What measures have been taken to stabilize pork price and ensure market supply? Thank you.

Qian Keming: It is true that pork price is quite high nowadays, due to multiple factors, especially the African Swine Flu. MOFCOM, in collaboration with relevant authorities, has taken a range of measures to ensure market supply and stabilize price, to some initial effect.

First, we increased release from reserves. Up to now, we have released 30,000 tons of pork from the central reserve in three batches. The third batch actually was released from 1 pm this afternoon to increase pork supply during the National Day holiday. Apart from pork, we have also released 24 million tons of beef and 19 billion tons of mutton. The local commerce departments have also started to release local reserves.

Second, we increased import of pork. This year we have actively expanded the sources of import and improved policy support. In the first eight months, pork import reached 1.164 million tons, up by 40.4%. We have also increased imports of substitutes. In the first eight months, beef import stood at 980,000 tons, up by 53.6%; mutton import, 265,000 tons, up by 16.6%; poultry import, 493,000 tons, up by 50.7%.

The measures have started to take effect. According to the market monitoring statistics, last week, or between September 16 and 22, price of edible agricultural products in 36 medium and large markets have recovered moderately, while the average wholesale price of pork was 36.4 yuan per kilo, slightly lower than the week before. Following the unified plan of the central government, the departments and local governments are making efforts to promote the recovery of pig farming, and ensure the supply and reserve of pork. In the meantime, the market supply of beef, mutton, and chicken should be increased. In general, we have the confidence and capacity to ensure meat supply and stable price of pork. Thank you.

CNBC: There is news coverage saying that the next round of China-US trade consultations will be held on October 10. Could MOFCOM confirm that? In addition, will the team be led by Vice-Premier Liu He? Thank you.

Wang Shouwen: A week after the National Day, Vice-Premier Liu He will lead a delegation to Washington for the 13th round of China-US economic and trade consultations. Not long ago, the economic and trade teams of the two sides held vice-ministerial consultations in Washington and conducted constructive discussions over economic and trade issues of common interest and exchanged views over the specific arrangements of the 13th round of China-US economic and trade consultations. China鈥檚 positions on the consultations are consistent and clear and China has stressed its principles for many times. The two sides should follow the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual trust and find a solution through dialogues on an equal footing. This is consistent with the interests of the two countries and peoples as well as the interests of the world and the people around the world.

TDM: How about the effects of Free Trade Zones and what are your considerations for the next step? What is the progress of the Hainan Free Trade Port? Thank you.

Wang Shouwen: Thanks for your question. Developing the FTZs is a strategic move by the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core to advance reform and opening up in the new era and a milestone for the reform and opening up. In 2013, we established the first FTZ. In more than six years, MOFCOM has worked with the relevant authorities to fully support the FTZs in experimenting boldly, blazing new trails and reforming independently, and comprehensively advanced all reform and pilot tasks for the FTZs. The local governments of the regions where FTZs are located are indeed pioneers and trailblazers, with a series of achievements in all areas after overcoming many difficulties.

As for the arrangements of the pilot program, our FTZs could be found nationwide, serving a series of national strategies. Every coastal province has their FTZ now, which serve the national strategies of Belt and Road, the coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, Yangtze River Economic Belt, Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the integration of the Yangtze River Delta and the strategies of the rise of central China, the development of the Western Region and the revitalization of Northeast China.

As for the pilot tasks, the State Council has formulated 24 general and specific plans on FTZs. Such plans gave a series of pilot tasks for 18 FTZs, particularly stressing the pioneering efforts on trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, financial opening up and innovation and interim and post-supervision. These have also achieved good results and formed more than 200 items of replicable and scalable experience to be rolled out to other places across the country.

As for the effects of the pilot program, we all know the pre-establishment national treatment plus negative list for the FDI administration, while the first negative list came into being in a FTZ. The first 鈥渟ingle window鈥of international trade in China was established in a FTZ and the first free trade account, the first reform separating permits from the business license and the first risk prevention and control list are all launched in FTZs. FTZs have achieved very good results in those areas.

In the first seven months of this year, the 12 FTZs established at an earlier stage only have an area of less than 4/1000 of the national total, but have attracted 14% of China鈥檚 total FDI and accounted for 13% of the national import and export.

In the next step, MOFCOM will better leverage its role as the office of the joint conference on FTZs and well implement the arrangements by the CPC central committee and the State Council to further FTZ development.

Exploring the opening of a free trade port with Chinese features is a major national strategy personally planned, deployed, and promoted by General Secretary Xi Jinping. Some time ago, according to the general arrangements by the CPC central committee and the State Council, MOFCOM drew on international experience and conducted an in-depth study on the policy, institution and system of the Hainan Free Trade Port on domestic and foreign trade, investment and financing, finance and taxation affairs, financial innovations and entry and exit to the country based on the realities of Hainan, with some periodic progress.

In the next step, according to the arrangements of the CPC central committee and the State Council, MOFCOM will work with the relevant authorities to speed up the exploration and development of the Hainan Free Trade Port and build new leading areas for reform and opening up at higher levels of opening up, with better business environment and stronger spillover effects.

China Media Group: The second China International Import Expo will be held in Shanghai in November. What are the features of this CIIE? How about its preparation? Thank you.

Zhong Shan: Thank you. The CIIE is China鈥檚 major initiative to still widen market access to the rest of the world. We earnestly implement the important instructions by General Secretary Xi Jinping of 鈥渢he CIIE will feature good performance, good results and continued success in the years to come鈥and make sound preparation for the second CIIE, with sound progress. This year鈥檚 CIIE mainly has three features: First, a larger scale. The companies of countries are more actively participating in this year鈥檚 exhibition. The exhibition this year has a total area of 360,000 square meters, 60,000 square meters larger than that of last year鈥檚 300,000 square meters. Even so, it is still hard to secure a booth. There will be more countries, regions, international organizations and companies than the first CIIE.

Second, higher quality. This year, more than 250 Fortune 500 companies and industrial leaders will participate, significantly higher than the first CIIE. In this year鈥檚 CIIE, it will be the first time for more new products, technologies and services to be launched globally or first exhibited in China. The number of purchasers of the second CIIE will greatly exceed that of the first, particularly in terms of overseas buyers. Therefore, we have the reason to believe that the second CIIE will be more effective than the first one.

Third, more diverse activities. During the exhibition, hundreds of supporting activities will be hosted to facilitate domestic and international economic and cultural exchanges. We have set up the platform of 鈥淩eleased by CIIE鈥for the first time to both publish China鈥檚 important policies and the research outcomes of international organizations.

During the CIIE, we will also host the Hongqiao International Economic Forum, which will be joined by renowned political, business, academic and research figures from around the world. The CIIE is initiated by China and shared by the world. It will create momentum and confidence for building an open world economy. We firmly believe that with the joint effort of all, the CIIE will be elevated to a higher level, with higher efficiency and greater influence.

The friends from the press present today and some of your colleagues might have attended the CIIE last year and wrote good stories. On behalf of MOFCOM, I would like to express our gratitude. We also would like to welcome more friends from the media to the CIIE this year and witness the lively atmosphere for yourself. Thank you.

Xi Yanchun: This is the last press conference held in the Media Center. On behalf of the Media Center, we would like to thank friends from the media for your hard work. We hope that you could continue to follow the website and the new media account of the Media Center for more information on interviews and we wish you every success. We would like to thank the three spokespersons again. Thank you. The press conference concludes now. Thank you!

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