SCIO press conference on commerce work, operations in H1 2023

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China's accession to the CPTPP requires the support of all current members, but some of them may face potential political constraints that prevent them from supporting the Chinese application. How does China plan to overcome current CPTPP members' concerns that their trade relationship with the U.S., the world's largest economy, could be at risk if China were to join the bloc? Thank you. 

Guo Tingting:

Thank you for your question. It is true that China has been proactively working toward its accession to the CPTPP. Let's have Mr. Yang Tao give the details.

Yang Tao: 

Thank you for your question. China applied to join the CPTPP in September 2021, and is now actively working to accelerate the accession process. We have conducted comprehensive and in-depth analysis, evaluation and research on all CPTPP provisions and identified possible measures and laws and regulations that need to be amended. Currently, China is communicating and negotiating with the members, following the procedures for joining the CPTPP. China has advocated building open, transparent, mutually beneficial and win-win regional free trade arrangements and promoted trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. Going forward, China is willing to maintain communication and exchanges with the members on China's accession to the CPTPP. Thank you!


In view of weak external demand, it is expected that China's export outlook faces difficulties in the second half of the year. How will MOFCOM support export enterprises in the second half?

Li Xingqian:

Thank you for your question. The decline in international market demand represents a significant factor influencing the development of foreign trade. If we look further back, global trade is returning to its pre-epidemic trends. The average annual growth rate of global trade during the three years of the epidemic was 9.7%, clearly higher than the average yearly growth rate of 2.4% from 2010 to 2019 before the epidemic. We believe that such high growth during the epidemic was temporary and unsustainable.

Looking forward to the second half of the year, foreign trade faces many uncertain, unstable and unpredictable factors. With economic and non-economic factors interacting, the situation is extremely difficult, which can be seen in two ways. On the one hand, global economic and trade growth is weak. The three driving forces of production, consumption, and investment are sluggish. The global manufacturing PMI has been below the 50-point mark for nine consecutive months. Inflation in major economies is still at a high level, and the recovery in commodity consumption has been relatively slow. On the other hand, non-economic interference is on the rise. Some countries have pushed for "decoupling," "chain disruption," and so-called "de-risking," putting up artificial obstacles to impede regular economic and trade exchanges. Enterprises say that some countries' politicization of trade issues has led to the forced transfer of orders and production capacity, harming the economic interests of both suppliers and buyers.

Despite facing these difficulties and challenges, we remain confident. China's foreign trade industry and supply chains are resilient. China's foreign trade enterprises, which have become strong competitors in the international market, have inherent innovation ability. Recently, we have followed up on key foreign trade industries and enterprises and noticed some positive changes. For example, cross-border transactions are becoming smoother, and the number of international flights is steadily recovering. The share of enterprises with flat or growing new contracts is picking up. For the electronic information industry, which is under pressure, the import of intermediate goods is on the rise, which means there may be a favorable turn in the year's second half. In addition, China's competitive products, such as electric vehicles, solar cells and lithium batteries, will continue to grow rapidly. Multilateral and bilateral trade cooperation, including the BRI and free trade agreements, are also unlocking the potential for trade growth.

In the second half of this year, MOFCOM will continue to adopt a problem-oriented approach and cooperate with localities and government departments to create synergy, fully promoting the stability and improvement of foreign trade. We will focus on three aspects. First, more efforts will be made to help enterprises keep orders stable and expand markets and ensure the success of a number of major expos, including the CIIE, the China Import and Export Fair, and the CIFTIS. We will support enterprises to participate in overseas exhibitions to market their products and services. Faster visa processing will be promoted, and efforts will be made to facilitate the resumption and addition of more flights to international routes. Second, we will safeguard the stability of industrial and supply chains. Efforts will be made to improve processing trade, dynamically adjust the catalog of maintenance products in comprehensive bonded zones, step up monitoring and early warning of trade risks, and help enterprises cope with unreasonable trade restriction measures. Meanwhile, we will be more proactive in expanding imports. Third, we will further innovate the development of foreign trade. We will support the continuous upgrading of the country's distinctive and competitive products, guide cross-border e-commerce brand cultivation and standard development, and promote the development and application of trade document digitalization. At the same time, training involving new models, green and low-carbon trade, and free trade agreements will be held in different sectors, helping enterprises enhance trade capacity. Thanks.

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