SCIO press conference on national economic performance in H1 2023

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China Financial and Economic News:

China will launch the fifth national economic census this year. Could you please provide an update on the current progress of the census? Thank you.

Fu Linghui:

Thank you for your question and your interest in the economic census. The fifth national economic census is a significant survey of our country's economic situation and strength as China embarks on a new journey of comprehensively building a modern socialist country. On July 7, the State Council held the first plenary meeting of the Leading Group for the Fifth National Economic Census, along with a nationwide teleconference. During these meetings, new plans for implementing and deploying the economic census work were discussed, resulting in further comprehensive mobilization. All regions and relevant departments have diligently adhered to the guiding principles of these meetings, working closely together to advance all aspects of the fifth national economic census.

In the next stage, the focus of the economic census work will be on conducting the inventory survey for various units. This survey aims to gather information on the basic situation and distribution of various legal entities engaged in economic and social activities within China, including industrial activity units, as well as self-employed individuals engaged in secondary and tertiary industry activities. The main object is to accurately identify and categorize the subjects for the fifth national economic census, clarify the registration responsibilities of local census agencies and relevant departments, ensure precise definition and coverage of the types of subjects to be surveyed, and avoid duplication or omission of units for the census. These efforts will lay the foundation for subsequent economic census activities.

The unit inventory survey is an essential foundational task that ensures the smooth implementation of census registration. Based on the results of the unit survey, the census unit list and the sample list of self-employed individuals can be compiled. This aids in clarifying the types of census forms to be filled out by census subjects. The quality of the survey work is directly related to the success of the census initiative.

The subjects of the unit inventory survey encompass all legal entities engaged in economic and social activities within China, including industrial activity units and self-employed individuals involved in the secondary and tertiary industries. The primary method involves county-level census agencies organizing census enumerators to conduct "door-to-door" surveys using handheld electronic devices, collecting information, and filling out census forms based on different categories. The survey work primarily includes selecting and training census enumerators, dividing census areas, compiling of census registers, conducting "door-to-door" surveys and verifying data. These activities will take place from June to December of this year, with a specific emphasis on the "door-to-door" survey primarily conducted from August to October. During this period, census personnel wearing Census Enumerator Certificates and Census Supervisor Certificates will come to collect information for the census forms.

I would like to take this opportunity to request the full cooperation of all survey subjects in supporting the door-to-door survey work. Please prepare relevant certificates and documents in advance and provide timely and accurate information, which will be used solely for the census purposes. All levels of census agencies and personnel are committed to maintaining the confidentiality of the provided information. Let's work together to complete the unit survey successfully. I would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude for everyone's immense support towards the economic census work. Thank you.

National Business Daily:

Despite the risk of shrinking external demand, China's foreign trade volume in the first half of this year reached a record high of 20.1 trillion yuan. Could you please analyze the reasons behind this? Also, how does the NBS foresee the trend of foreign trade for the second half of the year? Thank you.

Fu Linghui:

Thank you for your questions. Foreign trade is something that everyone is paying close attention to as well. Since the beginning of this year, the global economic recovery has been weak, and major economies have tightened monetary policies to curb high inflation, which has aggravated the contraction in global demand. The global manufacturing PMI's new export orders index has consistently remained in the contraction zone, and sluggish global trade has inevitably affected China's import and export growth. However, China's foreign trade operation remains robust and dynamic despite these pressures. Thanks to various measures to stabilize foreign trade, China's import and export volume exceeded 20 trillion yuan in the first half of the year. The total value of goods imports and exports reached 20.1 trillion yuan, setting a new historical record for the same period and showing a year-on-year growth of 2.1%. Exports grew by 3.7%, and China's share in global exports remained relatively stable. In the next stage, despite continuous pressure from shrinking external demand, China's foreign trade is expected to withstand the challenges and progress toward the goal of stability and quality improvement.

First, China's production and supply capabilities are relatively robust. China has a comprehensive industrial system with well-developed supporting industries, strong organizational capabilities, and a resilient supply chain. This provides a solid foundation for foreign trade development. Looking at the situation in the first half of the year, China's traditional export products continued to grow. In the first half of the year, China's exports of mechanical and electrical products increased by 6.3% year on year.

Second, the results of high-level opening-up are continuously manifesting. China remains steadfast in opening wider to the outside world, expanding economic and trade exchanges with countries around the world based on mutual benefit and win-win cooperation. This includes advancing Belt and Road cooperation, promoting the development of free trade zones, and expanding the growth space for foreign trade. In the first half of the year, China's imports and exports with countries along the Belt and Road increased by 9.8%. Additionally, exports and imports with Africa and Latin America grew by 10.5% and 7%, respectively.

Third, new drivers for foreign trade growth are gradually emerging. As China's industrial upgrading continues, the steady improvement of market competitiveness for new products has become a new highlight driving foreign trade growth. In the first half of the year, exports of "three new major export products," namely electric passenger cars, lithium batteries, and solar cells, increased by 61.6% year on year. Simultaneously, new forms of foreign trade, such as cross-border e-commerce, are developing rapidly, creating favorable conditions for improving the quality and expanding the scale of foreign trade.

It's also worth noting that various localities and departments have taken proactive measures to ensure stable and well-structured foreign trade. These measures have helped foreign trade entities actively cope with the contraction of external demand, seize market opportunities, and stabilize import and export trade. In the first half of the year, imports and exports by private enterprises grew by 8.9% year on year, playing a positive role in stabilizing foreign trade.

Overall, while foreign trade is experiencing growth pressures, there are also many favorable conditions. Going forward, we need to effectively implement various policies to stabilize foreign trade and strive to achieve our goal of promoting stability and improving the quality of foreign trade. Thank you.

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