SCIO press conference on commerce work, operations in H1 2023

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The Central Economic Work Conference proposed giving priority to restoring and expanding consumption. What work has been carried out in the first half of the year to promote consumption, and what have been the results? Thank you.

Xu Xingfeng:

Thank you for your interest in the consumption work. Consumption is the ultimate demand and the enduring driving force for economic growth. Since the beginning of the year, MOFCOM has fully implemented the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council about giving priority to restoring and expanding consumption. We have introduced policies, launched campaigns, improved consumption environment, and stabilized supply. The consumption market in the first half of the year showed a steady recovery. Ms. Guo just briefed us on the related work. Our work has mainly been in the following aspects:

First, we stabilized consumption in key areas, consolidating consumption fundamentals. As we said before, automobiles, home appliances, home furnishing and catering are four major fields of consumption. We introduced multiple policy measures to encourage consumer spending on big-ticket items. In terms of automobiles, measures were made to improve electric vehicle battery charging facilities and tap the rural market for NEVs. Recently, we rolled out two campaigns to boost automobile sales in various cities and spur NEVs consumption in counties and towns. We also launched a nationwide secondhand car information inquiry platform, aimed at creating a positive and reassuring experience for people when buying secondhand cars. In the first half of the year, the auto sales and the growth of NEV consumption were very pleasing. As Ms. Guo said earlier, used vehicle sales in China surged 15.6%, showing a steady recovery. In terms of home appliances, we stepped up efforts to support the consumption of green and smart home appliances. In the first half of the year, major e-commerce platforms saw a 67% and 12.7% increase in sales of replacement home appliances and green and smart home appliances sold in rural areas, respectively. In terms of home furnishing, we already provided information in this respect yesterday. In terms of the catering sector, a series of gourmet events were held to promote the recovery and development of the catering industry.

Second, we focused on creating a consumer-friendly environment through activities. As Ms. Guo mentioned, the consumption boosting events will run through the year with seasonal themes, monthly exhibitions and weekly attractions, with the aim to create many consumption booms. In the first half of the year, we held four themed events for boosting spring consumption, national consumption, green consumption and international consumption. We also held major expos, such as the China International Consumer Products Expo and the China International Silk Expo. A number of major events were held, including consumption promotion activities for cotton and textile products, time-honored brands and online-shopping. We are grateful to the media for their coverage of these events and for making them known to the public. Additionally, we encouraged local governments nationwide, including in Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Chongqing and Guangxi, to carry out various consumption promotion events with local characteristics.

Third, we have improved the environment to encourage consumption. As you all know, China is developing five international consumption centers in the cities of Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Tianjin and Chongqing. In this regard, we have stepped up efforts and held the second International Consumption Center City Forum to promote exchanges and mutual learning among cities. Meanwhile, we have also promoted renovating existing commercial pedestrian streets and upgrading business formats across the country. We have designated 12 national demonstration smart business areas to enhance urban commerce. A total of 2,057 "15-minute community life circles" have been built in 80 regions nationwide to address weak links in community businesses. We have promoted the development of county-level commercial systems and improved rural commercial outlets. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, retail sales of consumer goods in urban areas increased by 8.1% from January to June, while those in rural areas grew by 8.4%.

Fourth, we have ensured supplies meet basic public consumption needs, which has always been a focal point of our efforts. Focusing on daily necessities such as grain, oil, meat, eggs, milk, fruits and vegetables, we have maintained the market monitoring and warning system. We have strived to improve commodity circulation and ensure supply of daily necessities. In the first half of the year, 6,200 pieces of market monitoring information concerning daily necessities were released via a business forecast platform, attracting significant attention from certain enterprises and local governments. Moreover, we have also made active efforts to deal with the impact of natural disasters on the market, such as earthquakes in Luding county of Sichuan province and Shaya county of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, flooding in Henan province and Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, and the recent rainstorm in Chongqing. We have ensured emergency supplies of daily necessities in disaster areas. Moreover, according to the trend of the pork market, we purchased and stored pork in time to guide pork prices back to reasonable. That's all. Thank you.

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