ㄑ Publicity Department of CPC Central Committee holds press conference on integrating domestic and foreign trade and fostering dual-circulation development

Press conference on integrating domestic and foreign trade and fostering dual-circulation development | May 25, 2022


Since the 18th CPC National Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping has put forward the BRI. My question is, over the past 10 years, how has the trade between China and countries along the Belt and Road been going? According to some foreign media, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries have cast doubt on the prospect of the BRI. What's your comment on that? Thank you.

Sheng Qiuping:

I'll answer the questions first. After deep consideration of the future of humanity and the development trend of China and the whole world, General Secretary Xi Jinping put forward the BRI, which is a significant collaboration initiative to promote common prosperity and build a community with a shared future for mankind. Since it was put forward in 2013, the BRI has been constantly refined with growing influence and appeal and has become a popular international public product and cooperation platform in the world. The MOFCOM, together with related departments, has continuously enhanced Belt and Road economic and trade cooperation and achieved solid and fruitful accomplishments, based on the principles of consultation, cooperation and benefit for all.

First, we have promoted unimpeded trade along the Belt and Road. From 2013 to 2021, the annual trade volume between China and countries along the Belt and Road increased from $1.04 trillion to $1.8 trillion, growing by 73%. New forms of trade have developed rapidly, with "Silk Road E-commerce" being a highlight and cross-border e-commerce imports and exports increasing at high speeds. A number of overseas warehouses have been constructed and put into operation. The trade routes have been facilitated steadily, with the China-Europe Railway Express completing over 50,000 services and reaching more than 180 cities in 23 European countries. The construction of new land-sea transit routes has achieved new progress. The construction of free trade zone network covering Belt and Road countries has been accelerated, with seven free trade agreements signed with 13 countries along the Belt and Road.

Second, by stepping up investment cooperation, we have notably improved the integration of industrial and supply chains. From 2013 to 2021, China's direct investment in countries along the Belt and Road totaled $161.3 billion, while 32,000 enterprises were established in China by these countries, with a combined investment of $71.2 billion. By the end of 2021, Chinese enterprises have invested $43.08 billion in overseas economic and trade cooperation zones established in countries along the Belt and Road, creating 346,000 local jobs and playing a crucial role in propelling international capacity cooperation.

Third, the connectivity level has been greatly improved by advancing project construction. From 2013 to 2021, China signed new contracts worth about $1.08 trillion with countries along the Belt and Road for engineering projects in transportation, electricity and other areas, with a $728.6-billion business volume completed. A number of major cooperation projects have been completed and implemented, with the China-Laos railway put into operation, the Budapest-Belgrade railway under construction, and the Piraeus port in good operation. A number of handy and practical projects in agriculture, healthcare and poverty reduction have been carried out in succession, delivering tangible benefits to people of countries along the Belt and Road. 

Fourth, by improving mechanisms and platforms, we have raised communication and cooperation efficiency. The bilateral economic and trade mechanisms have been improved continuously, with over 100 mechanisms established to promote unimpeded trade, investment cooperation, service trade and e-commerce cooperation. The platforms for opening up, represented by large-scale exhibitions and forums, have enjoyed robust development, with four sessions of the CIIE, the China-ASEAN Expo, China-Eurasia Expo, China-CEEC Expo, and China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo successfully held.

Over the past eight years, the BRI has witnessed fruitful achievements, focused on mutual benefit and boosted common development of participating countries, and improved people's wellbeing. Currently, the pandemic is still ongoing, and the international situation is complex and volatile. However, the Belt and Road cooperation still displays resilience and vitality, injecting strong impetus to global openness, cooperation and economic recovery. Next, the MOFCOM will implement the guiding principles of General Secretary Xi Jinping's speeches on promoting Belt and Road cooperation, and work with all sides to ensure the BRI continues building momentum and producing concrete outcomes, promote high-quality development of the BRI through joint efforts and contribute to building a community with a shared future for mankind. Thank you.

Wang Lingjun:

Since the launch of the BRI, China has greatly facilitated trade with countries along the Belt and Road. The trade volume between China and BRI countries accounted for 29.7% of China's total foreign trade in 2021, from 25% in 2013. In the first four months of this year, China's exports and imports with BRI countries totaled 3.97 trillion yuan, growing by 15.5% year-on-year, 7.5 percentage points higher than the country's total foreign trade growth rate. China's foreign trade with Vietnam, Malaysia, and some other countries exceeded 1 trillion yuan each; its foreign trade volume with countries including Thailand and Indonesia surpassed 800 billion yuan each.

Regarding the high-quality development of the BRI, China has further deepened its cooperation with BRI countries in foreign trade security and customs clearance efficiency, particularly in promoting AEO mutual recognition, the China International Trade Single Window scheme, the establishment of a network of certificates of origin, and so on. Among the 48 countries and regions that have signed AEO agreements with China, 32 are involved in the BRI. The Partnership Program of Customs-Railway Operators for Promoting the Safety and Rapid Customs Clearance of China Railway Express (PPCR) has been put into trial operation at the Alashankou Port and Horgos Port on the China-Kazakhstan border. Meanwhile, China has continuously expanded import access to high-quality agricultural products and foods produced by BRI countries.

In 2021, General Secretary Xi Jinping put forward the cooperation vision of "Smart Customs, Smart Borders and Smart Connectivity." The General Administration of Customs of China has swiftly responded by launching 78 pilot programs. Of those programs, 22 involve international cooperation, mainly between China and BRI countries. The pilot programs aim to decrease the customs clearance costs for enterprises and raise customs clearance efficiency by increasing the level of intelligence. At present, many international organizations and multilateral frameworks represented by the WCO, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and Asia-Europe Meeting have adopted the vision of "Smart Customs, Smart Borders and Smart Connectivity" into their strategic documents and multilateral agendas. Thank You.

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