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[Yearly Overview III for Commerce Work in 2018] 鈥淏elt and Road鈥Economic and Trade Cooperation Saw Obvious Achievements

2018 is the opening year of implementing the spirits of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, and also the 5th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative. The Ministry of Commerce, taking Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as the guidance and according to the decisions and deployment of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, strengthened mechanism establishment and overall planning, implemented the action plan for 鈥淏elt and Road鈥cooperation, intensified coordination with related departments, and mobilized the power of the commercial system of the whole nation. The Ministry of Commerce worked really hard, promoted the high quality development of 鈥淏elt and Road鈥economic and trade cooperation and gained positive achievements.

1. MOFCOM strengthened communication and matchmaking and expanded the mutual interests. MOFCOM sincerely implemented the economic and trade cooperation achievements of the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. MOFCOM successfully held the first China International Import Expo with participating 172 countries, regions and international organizations as well as more than 3600 enterprises, breaking many records of international expos. MOFCOM also launched the implementing work of the Eight Major Initiatives of FOCAC (Forum on China鈥揂frica Cooperation) Beijing Summit, to expand the African friends鈥circle of the Belt and Road Initiative. MOFCOM optimized the promoting mechanism of trade and investment, and established smooth trade work group and investment cooperation work group with several countries under the frame work of bilateral economic and trade joint committee. MOFCOM also signed the third party market cooperation documents with many countries including Japan.

2. MOFCOM enhanced the level of trade liberalization and facilitation, and promoted trade growth. MOFCOM implemented the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, promoted the completion of the agricultural products鈥import admittance of some countries, and China鈥檚 general tariff level decreased from 9.8% to 7.5%. MOFCOM optimized multilateral and bilateral promoting platform of service trade and deepened the work in the innovation development pilot of service trade. MOFCOM accelerated the development of 鈥淪ilk Road E-commerce,鈥and established 22 new cross-border e-commerce comprehensive experimental areas to cultivate new business formats and modes of trade. MOFCOM made efforts in expanding markets, made full use of the platform role of domestic large scale exhibitions like the Canton Fair and held overseas non-commercial exhibitions. In the first 11 months of 2018, the total import and export volume of trade in goods between China and countries along the 鈥淏elt and Road鈥routes reached US$ 1.2 trillion, up 18.3% year on year, 3.5 percentage points higher than the overall growth of the country.

3. MOFCOM strengthened management and services, and deepened outward investment and cooperation. MOFCOM established the filing and reporting system of outward investment, and strengthened the authenticity and regulatory compliance management of outward investment. MOFCOM built the 鈥淔iling + Negative List鈥management mode of foreign contractual projects, and strengthened regulation in process and afterwards. MOFCOM made efforts in promoting standards and preventing risks, conducted supervision and inspection of鈥淒ouble Random鈥擠isclosure鈥 established the liaison and services鈥platform for outward investment and overseas enterprises and optimized the functions of the public service platform of 鈥済oing out.鈥In the first 11 months of 2018, China鈥檚 non-financial direct investment in the countries along the routes reached US$ 12.96 billion, up 4.8% year on year; the complete turnover of contractual projects in the countries alongside reached US$ 73.66 billion, up 12.6% year on year.

4. Optimize the business environment and enhance the attractiveness to foreign investment. The MOFCOM introduced 23 effective measures for using foreign capital, fully implemented the pre-establishment national treatment and negative list management system, expanded the areas accessible for foreign capital, simplified the procedures for establishing foreign-invested enterprises, and created the high standard international business environment. China has moved up 32 places in the international ranking of business environment over last year. In the first 11 months of this year, the direct investment of countries along the route in China was 5.93 billion U.S. dollars, up 18.4% year on year.

5. Promote the construction of major projects and deliver more visible results. The MOFCOM worked hard on projects construction, implemented the 鈥淪ilk Road Pearl鈥project, and strove to create a number of projects with comprehensive benefits and strong momentum. The MOFCOM has promoted a number of major infrastructure connectivity projects to achieve substantial progress. The Maldives China-Malaysia Friendship Bridge was open, the Addisababa Djibouti Railway was put into operation, Gwadar Port had full operational capability, and the main part of the second phase of the Hambantota Port project was completed. The China-Laos, China-Thailand and Hungary Serbia railway projects have been steadily advanced.

6. Build economic and trade industrial parks and give play to the effects of industrial agglomeration. The MOFCOM supported enterprises in building overseas economic and trade cooperation zones in accordance with the market-oriented operation modes and the national conditions of host countries and established the consultation and coordination mechanism for inter-governmental cooperation zones to ensure the legitimate rights and interests of the cooperation zone. At present, Chinese enterprises have 82 cooperative zones under construction in 24 countries along the route, with a total investment of about US$29 billion US, creating tax of more than US$2 billion. The MOFCOM steadily promoted the construction of China-Laos and China-Kazakhstan cross-border economic cooperation zones and accelerated the preliminary work of constructing China-Mongolia, China-Vietnam, China-Myanmar and China-Nepal cross-border economic cooperation zones.

7. Accelerate the construction of the Free Trade Zone and build the 鈥淏elt and Road鈥large market. The Free Trade Agreement with Georgia officially entered into force, negotiations on FTA with Mauritius were completed, and the protocol to upgrade FTA with Singapore was signed. The MOFCOM actively promoted FTA negotiations with Israel, Palestine and Moldova and the second phase negotiation on the Pakistan FTA. Significant progress has been made in the negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

8. Deepen regional and sub-regional cooperation and enhance the level of integrated cooperation. The MOFCOM signed the economic and trade cooperation agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union, completed the joint feasibility study of the China-Russia-Eurasia Economic Partnership Agreement, and promoted the construction of the Asia-Pacific Free Trade Zone. The document on the results of the fourth round of tariff reduction and concession of the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement officially came into effect. The MOFCOM further promoted regional and sub-regional cooperation such as the Great Tumen Initiative and reginal and sub reginal cooperations such as that of the Great Mekong River, and enhanced the level of regional and sub-regional trade and investment facilitation.

2019 marks the 70 anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, which is a crucial year for securing a decisive victory in finishing building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. Guided by the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, we will comprehensively implement the spirit of the 19th Communist Party of China National Congress, thoroughly study the spirit of the important speech delivered by General Secretary Xi Jinping at the meeting on the fifth anniversary of the meeting for promoting the 鈥淏elt and Road鈥construction, adhere to the principle of achieving shared growth through consultation and collaboration, and focus on connectivity in policy, infrastructure, trade, finance and people. Revolving around the main task of the second 鈥淏elt and Road鈥International Cooperation Summit, we will deepen the 鈥淏elt and Road鈥economic and trade cooperation and work toward the solid and in-depth progress of the cooperation.

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