Press conference on pursuing higher-quality opening-up and high-quality commerce development

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Zhong Shan, minister of commerce

Wang Shouwen, vice minister of commerce, deputy China international trade representative

Qian Keming, vice minister of commerce 


Xi Yanchun, person in charge of the Press Center for Celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China 


Sept. 29, 2019 

Xi Yanchun, person in charge of the Press Center for Celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China: 

Ladies and gentlemen, media friends, good afternoon. Welcome to this press conference. China's commerce sector has undergone an eventful history and has made remarkable achievements in the past 70 years. 

Today, we are delighted to invite Mr. Zhong Shan, minister of commerce, to introduce the work related to pursuing higher-quality opening-up and development of high-quality commerce. Also with us today are: Mr. Wang Shouwen, vice minister of commerce and deputy China international trade representative, and Mr. Qian Keming, vice minister of commerce. 

Now, I give the floor to Mr. Zhong Shan. 

Zhong Shan: 

Thank you, madam. Media friends, good afternoon. First of all, on behalf of the Ministry of Commerce, I want to thank you for your attention and support for our work. 

In the past 70 years, tremendous changes have taken place in China. The commerce sector has made many brilliant achievements. In particular, after the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, people working in the commerce sector have remained true to our original aspirations, always bearing our overall mission firmly in mind. We have been committed to carrying out reform and opening up. We have worked hard to promote new development and make new breakthroughs. China's role as a major trading nation has been consolidated. The commerce sector has recorded high-quality and steady development, making great contributions to national economic and social development. 

Let's look at these contributions from five perspectives. 

First, consumption has improved substantially. In the initial years after the founding of the PRC, the country suffered from a severe shortage of resources. Seven decades later, the supply of commodities has become increasingly abundant, and the scale of consumption has continuously enlarged. The annual retail sales of consumer goods rose from 27.7 billion yuan in 1952 to 38 trillion yuan in 2018, making China the second largest consumption market in the world. The upgrading of consumption has been accelerated. Service consumption takes an ever-larger proportion of the whole. The consumption potential of rural areas has been unleashed. New business forms like online shopping have undergone fast development. In 2018, total online retail sales online reached 9 trillion yuan. Consumption has become the top driver of economic growth for five consecutive years, and its role as the foundation of economic growth has been enhanced. 

Second, China's foreign trade ranks the first in the world. In the initial years, the country struggled to conduct foreign trade in the face of a blockade by foreign countries. In 1957, we founded the Canton Fair, also known as the China Import and Export Fair, in Guangzhou, which served as a window linking China with the world. After the reform and opening up, especially after admission to the World Trade Organization (WTO), China's foreign trade has undergone continuous, fast development. The volume of the country's imports and exports was merely $1.13 billion in 1950. However, in 2018, it was $4.6 trillion, making China the world's largest trading nation. The trade structure has been steadily improved. Machinery, electronic and other high-tech products have taken a lion's share of exports. Private enterprises have become a major force in foreign trade. The structure of imports and exports has achieved a better balance, as has trade in goods and service. The annual volume of imports has surpassed $2 trillion. Foreign trade has played an important role in boosting economic growth, enlarging employment, improving the public livelihood, etc., creating over 180 million jobs directly or indirectly. 

Third, the amount of inbound foreign investment leads the world. From special economic and development zones to free trade zones and free trade ports, from a positive list to negative one, from the three separate laws on foreign investment to the all-embracing Foreign Investment Law, China has opened ever wider to the world. The domestic business environment has become increasingly mature. The country has become a hot destination of foreign investment, with more being utilized. In 2018, China attracted foreign investment worth $138.3 billion, ranking second in the world. By the end of last year, the total foreign investment utilized reached $2.1 trillion. Approximately 960,000 foreign enterprises have set up operations in China. The quality and level of foreign investment have both been improved. The proportion of foreign investment in the high-tech and service industries have risen remarkably. Since last year, a batch of major foreign investment projects were launched. Foreign enterprises contribute nearly 20% of the country's tax revenue, playing an important role in stimulating innovation, boosting industrial upgrading, etc. 

Fourth, China's outbound investment, once lagging far behind, has caught up. China started late in making such investment. However, from the strategy of going global to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), more and more Chinese enterprises have gone abroad to invest or conduct business. Chinese enterprises now can be found all over the world. Starting from scratch, outbound investment has prospered gradually. In 2018, the country's outbound FDI reached $143 billion, ranking second in the world. By the end of last year, the stock of China's outbound investment approached $2 trillion, and approximately 43,000 Chinese enterprises had set up offices overseas. Outbound investment and international cooperation have created new space for the development of Chinese enterprises, and stimulated China's manufacturing industry and service industry to go global. Meanwhile, China's investment has also greatly boosted the economic and social development of foreign countries. 

Fifth, the capability of participating in global economic governance has been continuously enhanced. Upholding the global governance principles of making joint efforts through consultation to bring benefits to all, we have promoted opening and cooperation in the world, and pursued mutual benefits and win-win results. China's position and influence in the world have risen constantly. The country is getting near to the center of the international stage. The BRI has received a positive response from over 160 countries and international organizations, and won high praise from international community. We have been committed to multilateral trade systems, and promoted a reform of the WTO. We have signed 17 free trade agreements. We have voiced our views on various platforms like the G20, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the BRICS. We have made various proposals, and worked for the building of an open world economy, and for the building of a community with a shared future for humanity. We proposed to found the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and successfully held the China International Import Expo, providing more international public goods for the world. 

The struggle and achievements made in the past 70 years have laid a solid foundation and gathered precious experiences for our development. In the new era, in face of major transformation the world has not seen for a century, we must follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era to implement a new development philosophy, further promote the development of the domestic market, pursue higher-level opening-up and high-quality commerce development, so as to make a greater contribution to the fulfillment of the "two centenary goals" and the realization of the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation. 

Thank you. Now, I'd like to take your questions with my colleagues. 

Xi Yanchun: 

Thank you, Mr. Zhong Shan. The floor is open to questions. Please identify your news organization before raising questions.

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