Press briefing on foreign trade

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Zhang Ji, director-general of the Department of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce

Hu Kaihong, vice director-general of the Press Bureau, State Council Information Office

May 20, 2014



Hu Kaihong:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning! Welcome to today's news conference.

Recently, the State Council issued the "Several Opinions on Promoting Steady Growth of Foreign Trade" which was published on the Chinese government's website Zhang Ji, Director of the Department of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce, has joined us to give more details.

Zhang Ji:

Thank you. Ladies, gentlemen and friends from the media, good morning! I'm very glad to be here today, to share my point of view about the "Several Opinions on Promoting Steady Growth of Foreign Trade" with all of you. First, please allow me to give a brief introduction about the "Opinion", and then I will be delighted to answer your questions.

A downward pressure has been felt in foreign trade in the complicated and serious situation since the starting of this year. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council have both attached great importance to stabilizing trade growth. They have required the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) to thoroughly analyze imports and exports before coming up with countermeasures.

In response, the MOC launched intensive investigations across the country, during which we collected opinions in the form of survey and interviews, from up to 6,000 enterprises. We also gathered information from local commerce departments and some industrial associations. We worked with the NDRC, and the Ministry of Finance, among other bodies, to analyze our findings before presenting our recommendation on policymaking.

The central authorities have expressed their opinions on stabilizing trade growth in the No.19 Document, which was approved by State Council's executive meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang on April 30 and officially issued on May 4. The full text of the document is available on the portal website of the Chinese government and on the MOC's website. The Document includes 16 articles in five provisions.

For the sake of time, I will not elaborate on the details of the document. But I would like to explain its characteristics from nine perspectives.

1. The drafting process has been short. The entire process took less than 40 days, from March 27, when the MOC conducted the first inter-department coordination meeting, to April 30, when the document was approved. This has shown that leaders of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council have paid close attention to our work by personally coordinating the drafting. Also, the achievement can be attributed to the cooperation between various departments. Many business associations, intermediary organizations and enterprises have helped us too.

2. The drafting involves the participation of many departments. A total of 17 ministerial departments, along with two financial policy institutions, namely the Export-Import Bank of China and China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation have taken part in the drafting process, since foreign trade is a massive system that touches on various sectors.

3. The document is problem-oriented. The document has touched upon local appeals from governments and enterprises and other concerns in terms of stabilizing trade growth. The document has a special chapter on perfecting the rebate mechanism, which has reflected the regional imbalance in this regard, because some provinces, especially coastal ones, have greater pressure. The No. 19 Document has offered countermeasures for the corporate sector's difficulties in financing, maintaining profit margins, and simplifying trade processes.

Articles 15 and 16 in the document offer comprehensive accounts of trade and perfect the definition and role of trade for a country, saying that developing trade is not only important to stabilize growth and ensure employment, but also facilitates the in-depth merge of the Chinese economy with the world.

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