Publicity Department of CPC Central Committee holds press conference on integrating domestic and foreign trade and fostering dual-circulation development
Beijing | 10 a.m. May 20, 2022

The Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) held a press conference in Beijing on Friday about integrating domestic and foreign trade and fostering dual-circulation development.


Sheng Qiuping, vice minister of commerce

Wang Lingjun, vice minister of the General Administration of Customs

Pu Chun, vice minister of the State Administration for Market Regulation


Shou Xiaoli, spokesperson of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee

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Sheng Qiuping, vice minister of commerce

Wang Lingjun, vice minister of the General Administration of Customs

Pu Chun, vice minister of the State Administration for Market Regulation


Shou Xiaoli, spokesperson of the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC)


May 20, 2022

Shou Xiaoli:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Welcome to this press conference held by the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee. This is the fifth press conference under the theme of "China in the past decade." Today, we have invited Mr. Sheng Qiuping, vice minister of commerce; Mr. Wang Lingjun, vice minister of the General Administration of Customs; and Mr. Pu Chun, vice minister of the State Administration for Market Regulation, to brief you on integrating domestic and foreign trade and fostering dual-circulation development, and to take your questions.

Now, let's give the floor to Mr. Sheng for his introduction.


Sheng Qiuping:

Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the media, good morning. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the Leading Party Members Group of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has been working under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, strengthening the Party's overall leadership in commerce work, and resolutely implementing the decisions of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. As a result, China has made historic achievements and transformations in developing its domestic and foreign trade.

In the past decade, new progress has been made in expanding domestic demand and boosting consumption. Consumption represents the final demand. MOFCOM has firmly implemented the strategy of expanding domestic demand to boost consumption as a driving force for economic circulation. In 2021, the total retail sales of consumer goods stood at 44.1 trillion yuan, up 110% from 2012, with an average annual growth rate of 8.8%. Consumption has become the primary driving force of economic growth over previous years. The consumption structure has been continuously optimized. In 2021, the per capita consumption of services accounted for 44.2% of total per capita consumption, growing by 4.5 percentage points from 2013. The number of motor vehicles per 1,000 people reached 214, an increase of 1.4 times over 2012. The consumption model has been constantly innovated. In 2021, online retail sales stood at 13.1 trillion yuan, a nine-fold increase over 2012. Rural e-commerce has been booming. The consumption platform has been continuously consolidated, international consumption center cites have been created, and platforms such as the China International Consumer Products Expo have been established to better meet the needs of the people for a better life.

In the past decade, new breakthroughs have been made in developing a modern distribution system. Developing a modern distribution system is a strategic task in the building of a new development paradigm. From day one, MOFCOM has been working hard to advance a modern distribution system and has achieved remarkable results. Weak links have been addressed in rural areas. Under the comprehensive demonstration project of bringing e-commerce to rural areas, support has been offered to a total of 1,489 counties, 1,212 county-level logistics distribution centers have been built, and the online retail sales of agricultural produce reached 422.1 billion yuan in 2021. The construction of county-level commercial service centers has seen initial progress. New features have been fostered in urban commerce. A total of 428 15-minute community life circles have been built, which have created over 500,000 jobs, helped more than 8 million people and pooled 13.5 billion yuan of private investment. Pilot projects for the renovation of pedestrianized shopping streets have been launched. In 2021, the 23 pilot streets saw a year-on-year growth of 10.2% in visits and 16.7% in revenue. Distribution efficiency has been improved. In 2021, the ratio of total social logistics cost to GDP stood at 14.6%, down 3.4 percentage points from 2012.

In the past decade, great strides have been made in the high-quality development of foreign trade. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council attach great importance to foreign trade. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, we have taken solid steps and used innovative means to maintain the stability of foreign trade, and have reached historic milestones in its development. In 2021, China's trade in goods reached $6.05 trillion and trade in services surpassed $800 billion, up 56% and 70% respectively from 2012. The trade structure has been optimized. In 2021, the proportion of emerging markets, central and western regions, private enterprises, and general trade in exports increased by 6.2, 5.9, 20.1 and 12.7 percentage points respectively from 2012. Trade in knowledge-intensive services increased by 122.1% compared with 2012 and the deficit in trade in services hit a record low level for the past 10 years. Innovative growth drivers have been boosted. Imports and exports via cross-border e-commerce grew nearly 10 times in five years and the market procurement trade export volume rose by seven times in seven years. The integration of domestic and foreign trade has steadily improved. The China International Import Expo (CIIE) has achieved greater success. We have held four successful sessions of the CIIE, with deals totaling $272.27 billion. A variety of high-quality consumer goods and advanced technology products have been introduced through this platform. With a focus on both the supply and demand sides, the CIIE has greatly enhanced the healthy interplay of domestic and international circulations.

That is all for my brief introduction, thank you.


Shou Xiaoli:

Thank you, Mr. Sheng. Now, Mr. Wang please.

Wang Lingjun:

Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the media, good morning.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, China has expedited the building of a new system of an open economy and made historic achievements in terms of foreign trade. Customs statistics show that the volume and quality of China's foreign trade have both increased.

In terms of the volume, China's foreign trade in goods kept hitting new highs over the past decade. The volume has increased from 24.4 trillion yuan in 2012 to 39.1 trillion yuan in 2021, up by 14.7 trillion yuan. The increment is close to the total volume of foreign trade in 2009. China's foreign trade in goods exceeded 30 trillion yuan in 2018 and approached the 40-trillion-yuan threshold level in 2021. China's global market share increased from 10.4% in 2012 to 13.5% in 2021, further consolidating the country's role as the world's largest trader of goods. Since 2017, China has been the world's largest trader in goods for five consecutive years. The rapid growth of China's foreign trade in goods in the past decade fully reflects that China is not only the "world's factory" but also the "world's market." It has provided the global market with a great variety of high-quality and affordable goods while offering tremendous opportunities for other countries through the vast Chinese market.

In terms of quality, China continues to make progress in ensuring high-quality development of foreign trade. Foreign trade entities have been further invigorated. The number of enterprises dealing in imports and exports in China increased by 1.7 times in the past decade. China's "circle of friends" in foreign trade has been expanded. Its trade with countries along the route of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) keeps improving with higher connectivity, and its development priorities of domestic regions are better aligned. Foreign trade in the central and western regions accounted for 17.7% of China's total in 2021, up 6.6 percentage points compared to 11.1% in 2012. China's foreign trade structure in goods has been further optimized, and the new growth momentum of foreign trade keeps emerging. In the past decade, the high-quality development of foreign trade speaks vividly of the transformation and upgrade from "made in China" to "intelligent manufacturing in China." China's foreign trade has demonstrated a stronger capacity in participating in international competition, played a bigger role in fueling the global economy, and seen a stronger foundation for long-term growth.

Over the past decade, customs authorities across China have worked to serve national economic and social development, enhance regulation and improve services, which has promoted the high-quality development of foreign trade. First, the business environment at ports has been continuously optimized. The number of documents required for imports and exports was reduced from 86 to 41. The overall time needed for customs clearance has been reduced by more than half over the past four years, and every minute saved can translate to enterprises' economic benefits. Second, the establishment of platforms for opening up has been advanced. We have promoted the innovative development of integrated bonded areas. Currently, there are 156 such areas nationwide. We have also innovated the customs supervision system of pilot free trade zones (FTZs). Under the principle of opening up wider while ensuring effective supervision, we have developed the customs control framework for the Hainan Free Trade Port. The imports and exports of integrated bonded areas, pilot FTZs and Hainan Free Trade Port have increased significantly. Third, we have supported the development of new business forms of foreign trade. We have introduced customs supervision modes such as "bonded import," "business-to-business (B2B) direct export" and "overseas warehouse." These have met the needs of cross-border e-commerce enterprises and turned global shopping into a reality. Fourth, we have comprehensively strengthened international cooperation with customs authorities overseas. We have implemented General Secretary Xi Jinping's "Smart Customs, Smart Borders and Smart Connectivity" initiative and established friendly and cooperative ties with customs authorities in 171 countries and regions. We have extensively participated in the formulation of rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO), engaged in negotiations for free trade agreements such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and proactively played our part in globally coordinated governance of customs. We have supported the joint construction of the BRI. From 2013 to 2021, more than 100 kinds of quality agri-food products have entered the Chinese market. We also fostered cooperation on the mutual recognition of Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) status. More than 4,000 Chinese companies with high-level AEO status enjoy the same convenient clearance procedures abroad as in China. This has reduced trade costs and provided a favorable external environment for China's foreign trade.

China's foreign trade got off to a generally stable start this year. However, due to various impacts from home and abroad, the country is under growing pressure to ensure stable performance in foreign trade. The CPC Committee of the General Administration of Customs will firmly follow the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council and keep innovating the customs control system, thus contributing to the overall development of foreign trade and setting the stage for the 20th CPC National Congress with outstanding achievements.


Shou Xiaoli:

Thank you. Next, I'll give the floor to Mr. Pu Chun.

Pu Chun:

Friends from the press, good morning. "Integrating domestic and foreign trade and fostering dual-circulation development" is an inherent requirement for China to give full play to the advantages of its super-large market and expand high-level opening-up.

Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the market regulation authorities, following the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, have fully implemented the decisions and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, and continued to deepen reform, optimize regulation and improve services, providing strong support for fostering a new development paradigm. We have continued to refine the business environment and stimulate the vitality of market entities to improve the market system and promote stable economic growth long into the future. We have worked steadfastly to consolidate and develop the public sector and encourage, support, and guide the development of the non-public sector, pressed ahead with the reform of market access, operation, and exit systems, and fully boosted entrepreneurship and innovation dynamism across the society. The number of market entities has reached a historic high of 150 million, and the number of self-employed individuals has hit a new level of 100 million. This has helped lay the most important economic foundation for promoting development, stabilizing employment, ensuring people's livelihood, and balancing development and security, as well as accumulate the most valuable, reliable, and predictable strategic resources for steady and long-term economic growth.  

We have thoroughly implemented the fair competition policies and prioritized safeguarding fair competition to give play to the role of market mechanisms and build a unified domestic market. We have resolutely implemented the decisions and deployments of the CPC Central Committee about fair competition policies, coordinated efforts to improve competition rules and strengthened related law enforcement, and integrated online and offline supervision in a coordinated way. We have paid more attention to following the general rules of the market, intensifying law-based measures, and preventing and defusing risks of competition disorder to effectively maintain fair market order.  

We have comprehensively enhanced the protection of consumers' rights and interests and regulated the market to improve people's well-being. We have firmly adopted the "four strictest measures (the strictest standards, supervision, penalties, and accountability)" and reinforced the whole-chain oversight in key areas, which has steadily bettered food and drug safety. Supervision has been stepped up over the quality of vaccines against novel coronavirus and pandemic-related products, as well as the prices of goods critical to people's livelihoods, to serve the national anti-pandemic efforts. Channels for consumers to make complaints and reports have been smoothed, and efforts have been redoubled to address people's trivial but essential matters in their daily lives, thus creating a safe and reassuring market environment for expanding domestic demand.  

We have worked hard to build China into a manufacturer of quality and focused on promoting quality improvement for high-quality development. We have established and improved policies for quality betterment and steadily bolstered the quality of products and services. The quality infrastructure, including measurement standards, certification and recognition, and inspection and testing, has been refined and has become an important part of the market system. This has promoted efficient operation and fair trading in the market and served as significant, fundamental support for scientific and technological innovation, industrial upgrading, green development, and trade facilitation.  

Friends from the press, it takes great responsibility to well regulate such a super-large market with an economic size of 114 trillion yuan, 158 million market entities, and 1.4 billion consumers. On the new journey of building a modern socialist country in all respects, we will always follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and apply the new development philosophy in full, in the right way, and in all fields of endeavor. We will take a strategic perspective to cultivate a new development paradigm, promote high-quality development and facilitate common prosperity, continue to energize the market, and strive to maintain the market order by pioneering forth and making innovations while upholding what is proven successful so as to contribute to the prosperous, sound, and orderly development of China's super-large market. Thank you!


Shou Xiaoli:

Thank you, Mr. Pu, for the introduction. Now the floor is open to questions. Please identify your media outlet before raising questions.

21st Century Business Herald:

In the past decade, China's foreign trade has grown rapidly, and the country has become the largest trader in goods with such status gradually stabilized. However, due to the pandemic, the global economic recovery is slow, and foreign trade is faced with grim challenges. What will China do next to promote the high-quality development of foreign trade? Thank you.

Sheng Qiuping:  

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, historic achievements have been made in high-quality trade development, making important contributions to our national economic growth and global economic recovery.  

First, China's status as a major trading nation has been consistently strengthened. China became the largest trader in goods in 2013, and its trade in goods and services increased to the world's largest in 2020. Last year, China's total value of imported and exported goods grew by 30% year-on-year in U.S. dollar terms, surpassing the two levels of 5 trillion yuan and 6 trillion yuan to hit a record high. The international market share of China's exports reached 15.1%.  

Second, the trade mix has continued to improve. The proportion of imports and exports of the central and western regions has increased significantly, and private companies are playing a more prominent role in driving growth. High-tech and high-value-added products such as automobiles and ships have gradually become new driving forces of growth. Auto exports increased by 150% compared with 2012.

Third, remarkable progress has been made in the innovative development of trade. New forms and models of trade have sprung up. The number of integrated pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce  has reached 132, and companies in the zones have set up more than 2,000 overseas warehouses. The number of pilot programs for market procurement trade methods  has increased to 31.

Fourth, the markets of trade have become more diversified. China has actively expanded its trading partners in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and other emerging markets, progressively improving its market distribution. It has signed 19 free trade agreements with 26 countries and regions, and its trade volume with them now accounts for 35% of the country's total.

Fifth, trade has massively contributed to national economic development and world economic recovery. Foreign trade is one of the three driving forces for economic growth and a sector that has created 180 million jobs. Last year, imports and exports of goods and services drove GDP growth by 1.7 percentage points with a contribution rate of 20.9%. Meanwhile, China's imports contributed 13.4% to global import growth, a strong boost to the recovery of the world economy.

As foreign trade now faces challenging and complex circumstances both in and outside of China, we will act on the general principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability, further implement various policies on stabilizing foreign trade, and spare no effort to stabilize the overall performance of foreign trade and foreign investment and promote high-quality development of foreign trade to contribute to the building of a new development paradigm.

First, we will improve the quality and efficiency of foreign trade. We will continue to promote the quality of imports and exports, vigorously develop trade in high-tech, high-quality, and high-value-added products, and make labor-intensive products more high-end and refined. We will support the export of brand-name products, increase the import of energy and resource products and high-quality agricultural products, and foster demonstration zones for the creative promotion of import trade.

Second, we will support the innovative development of foreign trade. We will actively support the development of new forms and models of business, such as cross-border e-commerce, overseas warehouses, market procurement trade methods, and comprehensive foreign trade services . We will vigorously develop digital trade, enhance trade digitalization, and empower the whole trade system with digital technologies at a faster speed. We will establish the standard and certification system for green and low-carbon trade, foster green and low-carbon trade entities, and accelerate the development of green trade.

Third, we will promote the integrated development of domestic and foreign trade. We will improve the regulation system fit for both domestic and foreign trade, promote the coordination of laws, regulations, supervision systems, and quality standards, foster platforms for both domestic and foreign trade, ensure that products sold domestically are produced on the same production lines, meet the same standards, and are of the same quality as exported products, and encourage foreign trade companies to expand the domestic market through multiple channels.

Fourth, we will do our best to ensure stable foreign trade industrial and supply chains. As COVID-19 continues to impact global supply chains, we will step up efforts to mitigate disruptions in global industrial and supply chains, improve the business environment, and facilitate trade.

Fifth, we will further strengthen international cooperation. We will ensure the success of major trade fairs such as the CIIE, the China Import and Export Fair, and the China International Fair for Trade in Services, firmly uphold the multilateral trading system, actively participate in the reform of the WTO, make good use of the RCEP free trade agreement, actively promote China's accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA), and get deeply involved in the international cooperation on green and low-carbon development and digital economy. Thank you.


Southern Metropolis Daily:

I have noticed that as the guideline on accelerating the building of a unified national market was issued recently, "unified market" has become a buzzword. What is the relationship between building a unified national market and developing a new development paradigm featuring dual circulations? Thank you.

Sheng Qiuping:

Ok, let me take your question first. It is a very important question, and I would like to share my views on it from our work on commerce.

In my view, the building of a unified national market is not only the basic support for smoothing the domestic circulation but also the inherent requirement for promoting domestic and international circulations. On the one hand, building a unified national market clears up barriers and smoothens the circulation and is thus conducive to forming unimpeded and efficient domestic circulation in which supply and demand mutually reinforce, production and sales are advanced in parallel. On the other hand, as the market is the world's scarcest resource, the building of a unified national market will help maintain and enhance its strong attraction to global companies and resources, better boost market connectivity, industrial integration, innovation promotion, rule alignment, and consequently promoting domestic and international circulations.

Commerce is an important part of the domestic circulation and an important hub linking domestic and international circulations. It plays an important role in the construction of a new development paradigm. In recent years, we, together with relevant departments, have achieved remarkable progress in promoting domestic and foreign trade integration, integrated development of online and offline businesses, the coordination of urban and rural areas and among regions by fully leveraging the advantages of commerce in connecting domestic and foreign trade, urban and rural areas, and coordinating production and sales, contributed to building a unified national market.

Steady progress in integrating domestic and foreign trade has been made. Since reform and opening up, and especially since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, China has made significant progress in the integration of domestic and foreign trade. First, the market for domestic and foreign trade has been growing. China has become the world's second-largest consumer market and the world's biggest trader in goods. Second, the management system of domestic and foreign trade integration has taken shape, and China established a domestic economic management system in line with international economic and trade rules. Its laws and regulations of domestic and foreign trade have been continuously improved, barriers to access to domestic and foreign trade markets and cross-border flow of goods have been greatly reduced, and public services have continued to improve. Third, the connection between domestic and foreign trade markets has been active. Several large companies and numerous micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises engaged in both foreign and domestic trade have grown up.

Integrated development of online and offline businesses has been accelerated. In recent years, China has made notable progress in the e-commerce business with accelerated integrated development of online and offline businesses. According to statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics, the sales volume of online retail reached 13.1 trillion yuan last year. China has been the world's largest online retail market for nine consecutive years since 2013, and its number of online shoppers has seen explosive growth in the past decade. The number of online shoppers in China reached 812 million by June last year. The express industry has grown rapidly. More than 100 billion packages were handled last year, nearly 20 times that of 2012, ranking first in the world. 

The commercial distribution system has supported the coordinated development between urban and rural areas and regions. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, China has actively promoted an upgrade of the agricultural product market and improved the distribution system of agricultural products. There are 44,000 agricultural product markets nationwide. Since 2014, China has developed e-commerce programs targeted at rural areas. 2400 county-level e-commerce public service centers and logistics distribution centers were built, and 148,000 village-level e-commerce service facilities were built, which have increased the income of 6.18 million poor rural residents and helped lift people out of poverty. Meanwhile, we have upgraded pedestrian streets in major cities, built 15-minute community service circles, developed brand chain convenience stores, and promoted the linkage of business, travel, and culture to make shopping and leisure activities more convenient and diversified. 

Here, I would also like to share a typical case of integrating domestic and foreign trade and fostering dual-circulation development. That is the experience of Yiwu. China has carried out a comprehensive pilot reform for foreign trade, a pilot reform for the distribution system of domestic trade, and a pilot program for free trade zone since 2012. In the past decade, Yiwu's exports have increased by 5.4 times, imports by 10 times, and e-commerce transactions by 6.1 times. From "buying and selling in China" to "buying from the world and selling to the world," Yiwu has made solid progress in building itself into the world's capital of small commodities. Next, we will focus on promoting consumption, improving distribution, and ensuring stability in foreign trade, and make our contribution to building a unified domestic market and establishing a new development paradigm. Thank you. 

Pu Chun:

I have something to add. A unified domestic market is a key marker of a mature market economy and basic support and an intrinsic requirement of establishing a new development paradigm. 

First, building a unified domestic market is an important foundation for stimulating market vitality and boosting internal momentum for economic development. Accelerating the establishment of rules in a unified market system will help stabilize market expectations, strengthen market confidence, form a strong domestic market, and provide a stable, open, transparent, safe, law-based, and predictable institutional environment to promote stable economic development. 

Second, building a unified domestic market is an important precondition for promoting smooth domestic circulation and fully leveraging the super large Chinese market. Building a unified market of factors and resources is conducive to equal and easy access to market resources for all types of market entities, promoting an orderly flow of all types of production factors on a wider scale and providing favorable conditions for unleashing the potential of the super large market. 

Third, building a unified domestic market is an important measure for unleashing the potential consumption and expanding consumer demand. Promoting high-level integration of markets for goods and services is conducive to boosting consumer confidence, expanding consumer demand, and providing basic support for implementing the strategy of expanding domestic demand and reinforcing China's economic resilience.

Fourth, building a unified domestic market is important for high-standard opening-up and forging new advantages in international cooperation and competition. Moving ahead with institutional opening-up of standards and rules is conducive to enhancing attractiveness to advanced international resources, promoting the connection of domestic and international markets to enable China to gain new advantages in international competition and cooperation. 

Next, the State Administration for Market Regulation will fully implement the tasks put forward in the Opinion in the following aspects:

First, we will diversify institutional supply for market regulation. We will study and explore mechanisms and policies that align with regulation requirements for a mature market economy to provide a stable, orderly, secure, and trustworthy market environment for all market entities.

Second, we will accelerate efforts to build a market-oriented, law-based, and internationalized business environment. We will continue with further measures to push forward the institutional reform for market entities to access and exit the market and get business permits. We will continue to introduce all kinds of facilitation measures to better play the role of business environment reform in stabilizing market expectations.

Third, we will further the implementation of policies to ensure fair competition. We will move faster to do away with all regulations and practices that impede the functioning of a unified market and fair competition. We will further regulate unfair competition and market intervention and take solid steps to improve the stability and predictability of regulation.

Fourth, we will focus on improving the quality and safety of products and further protecting consumers' rights and interests. Focusing on major areas related to the quality and safety of products, we will deepen regulations and management to ensure product quality and market order and work to improve the market environment for consumers and boost their consumption confidence. Thank you all.


China News Service:

Our attention is now more focused on the quality of foreign trade, rather than just the volume. In terms of statistics, how can we see high-quality development of foreign trade? What are the changes happening to the trade mix? Thanks.

Wang Lingjun:

Thank you for your questions. Over the past decade, China's foreign trade has witnessed a high-quality development both in the improvements of volume and quality and also the composition of trade. This can be described in the following aspects:

First, we improved the composition of export products. The machinery and electronic products took a large share of our exports. In 2021, China's exports totaled 21.73 trillion yuan. The trade volume of mobile phones, computers, integrated circuits, and other machinery and electronic products reached 12.83 trillion yuan, accounting for nearly 60% of the total. However, the export of labor-intensive products such as clothing, shoes and hats, bags, and toys only totaled 3.94 trillion yuan, accounting for 18.1% of the total. This shows that China's primary export products have shifted from labor-intensive ones to technically more advanced ones, which fully demonstrates a continued improvement in the quality, grades, and added value of export products. 

Second, we expanded the imports and achieved win-win results in international economic and trade cooperation. In 2021, China's imports totaled 17.37 trillion yuan, up 51.2% over 2012. China has become the world's second-largest importer, with the import of advanced technology and equipment, key spare parts, and quality consumer goods continuing to expand, which better meets the needs of production and people's lives. A more open market lets the world share more benefits of China's economic growth and booming consumption sector. 

Third, we diversified our trading partnership and made the global market layout more reasonable. China maintains a stable relationship with the EU, the U.S., Japan, the ROK, and other traditional trading partners. China's foreign trade volume with these countries accounts for 38.3% of the total. At the same time, China is actively expanding cooperation with ASEAN, Africa, Latin America, and other emerging markets. Its share in total trade volume with these countries increased from 22.2% in 2012 to 26.2% in 2021. ASEAN has consecutively been China's largest trading partner for the last two years. In particular, trade between China and countries along the Belt and Road continues to expand, with its share in total trade volume up from 25% in 2013 to 29.7% in 2021. 

Fourth, the number of foreign trade firms registered rapid growth, unleashing more dynamism in market entities. In 2021, the number of companies engaged in foreign trade reached 567,000, including 476,000 private companies and 82,000 foreign-invested enterprises. In terms of foreign trade volume, private companies have become the most important players in China's foreign trade. Their share in foreign trade volume reached 48.6% in 2021, nearly half of the total. Over the past decade, China has continued to create a business-friendly environment at the port, stepped up support to SMEs, and worked to build an environment that is good for all market entities to compete and develop to inspire companies to become more confident and assured in exploring new markets and facilitating their global layout. 

Fifth, we continued to energize a new driving force for foreign trade development and accelerated efforts to create new advantages in competition. Major platforms for opening up have played a significant role. In 2021, imports and exports of comprehensive bonded zones, free trade pilot zones, and the Hainan Free Trade Port grew by 23.8%, 26.4%, and 57.7%, respectively. In terms of new forms and trade models, the scope of cross-border e-commerce and market procurement trade expanded quickly. In 2021, China's trade volumes via cross-border e-commerce totaled 1.92 trillion yuan, up 18.6%. The export volume through market procurement trade increased by 32.1%, demonstrating a rapid growth trend. Thank you.



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.


Red Star News:

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has repeatedly stressed the importance of further implementing policies aiming to ensure equal opportunities, fair access and orderly competition of all kinds of capital. I would like to ask, what achievements have been made in China in terms of safeguarding fair competition? What measures will be taken for the next step? Thank you.

Pu Chun:

Those are very good questions. Since the 18th National Congress of CPC, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has attached great importance to protecting and promoting fair competition and made major decisions and arrangements to strengthen the fundamental role of fair competition policies. The State Administration for Market Regulation has further implemented fair competition policies, continued efforts to optimize fair competition management, and created an increasingly better market environment for fair competition in China.

First, the fair competition institutions and mechanisms have been constantly improved. For example, we have accelerated the amendment of the Anti-monopoly Law and the Anti-Unfair Competition Law, formulated seven supporting regulations, released seven guidelines in some major industries and fields such as platform economy and the compliance of operators, and launched the Detailed Implementing Rules for the Fair Competition Review System. Following the reform of Party and state institutions in 2018, China's anti-monopoly function was integrated into SAMR. With the launch of an anti-monopoly bureau in 2021, China has realized the unification of the anti-monopoly law enforcement system. At the end of 2021, a guideline document issued by the General Office of the CPC Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council on strengthening anti-monopoly and further promoting the implementation of fair competition policies marked China's first top-level design in policy framework for fair competition.

Second, the ecology of market competition has made constant progress. The SAMR has laid equal stress on standard supervision and promotion of development; given play to various kinds of laws and regulations on anti-unfair competition, price supervision, and advertisement supervision; carried out guidance by rules, administrative guidance, follow-up law enforcement, and conditional approval; promoted major law enforcement campaigns in an orderly and stable manner. With these efforts, such outstanding competition disorders as e-commerce platforms requiring businesses to choose one platform over another have been solved. Over the past decade, we have investigated and handled 195 cases involving monopoly agreements and 82 cases related to abuse of market dominance, and concluded 3,822 cases involving consolidation of operators. As a result, the market environment has become increasingly favorable for fair competition.

Third, we have further promoted the development of a unified domestic market. The fair competition review system has covered all the four administrative levels of government in China to prevented the adoption of policies that are destructive to building a unified domestic market and fair competition from the root. Over the last ten years, we have sorted out a total of 3.402 million policy documents, reviewed 1.278 million newly released policy documents, and corrected and abolished 53,000 ones. We have further strengthened law enforcement to fight the abuse of administrative power to preclude and restrict competition. We have investigated and handled 363 cases hindering the free movement of commodities. At the same time, we have furhered institutional opening-up in the field of competition and shared China's practice in global competition governance.

We must ground our work in this new stage of development, practice the new development philosophy, and foster a new development paradigm. We urgently need to accelerate efforts to improve the fair competition governance system suitable for our national conditions. With more attention paid to applying systematic and law-based thinking, we will continue to enhance the mechanism of fair competition, make red-light and green-light policies, and step up efforts to establish a comprehensive, tiered, and multi-dimensional system to regulate all stages, from start to finish, in all sectors. We will regulate and guide the sound and well-ordered development of capital in accordance with the law and continue to improve the effectiveness of competition regulation. We will strengthen advocacy for competition and enhance enterprise compliance to spur the development of a market environment that values, protects, and promotes fair competition. Thank you.


The Poster News APP

Today is World Metrology Day, observed on May 20. As we know, quality infrastructure such as measurement standards, certification, accreditation, inspection, and testing are an important support for facilitating international trade. What efforts have been made by the market regulators to strengthen the alignment of standards and rules and promote the integration of domestic and foreign trade? And what achievements have been made? What are the ideas and measures for promoting the integrated development of domestic and foreign trade in the future? Thank you.

Pu Chun: 

Today is May 20, a special day for love in China. It is also World Metrology Day. Measurement standards, certification, accreditation, inspection, and testing are not only an essential infrastructure for the domestic market system but also important content of international economic and trade rules. Market regulators have played an active role in providing technical support for quality infrastructure and strengthened the alignment of market rules and standards, thus giving strong impetus to the integrated development of domestic and foreign trade.

First, we have worked to align market regulation rules with international economic and trade rules. Under the framework of the BRI and the RCEP, we have promoted coordination of standards and cooperation on mutual recognition of conformity assessment results, boosted the development of foreign trade, strengthened research on technical trade measures and response to them, and reviewed foreign technical trade measures that affect Chinese enterprises in export industries, which has given a significant boost to safeguarding the lawful and reasonable rights of Chinese enterprises.

Second, we have actively promoted to align standards certification. In terms of standardization, the consistency of major consumer goods in nine key areas, including household appliances and consumer electronics, with international standards rose to 96.15% from 81.45% in 2016. The average international standard conversion rate across all industries has reached 75%, and the international standard conversion rate in many important industries, including equipment manufacturing, important consumer goods, and next-generation information technology, has exceeded 90%. All of these have boosted the integration of domestic and foreign trade. In terms of certification and accreditation, China has signed 127 documents on cooperation and mutual recognition arrangements with more than 30 countries and economies and joined 21 certification and accreditation international organizations, greatly facilitating the economic and trade development between China and her trading partners. We have simplified the China Compulsory Certification (CCC) procedures for domestic sales of export-oriented commodities, where the CCC certificate will be issued in seven working days if application documents are complete.

Third, we have boosted the alignment of domestic and foreign trade products with the same production lines, standards, and quality. We have stepped up efforts in this regard by guiding enterprises to produce products that meet the requirements of specific target markets abroad and can be sold at home as well based on the same standards and quality requirements. At present, the application scope of the alignment has been extended to cover general consumer goods and industrial products. There are nearly 10,000 products of this kind from around 3,000 enterprises on the public information service platform of the alignment.

Next, the State Administration for Market Regulation will continue to play its functional role in promoting the integrated development of domestic and foreign trade. First, we will enhance the alignment of standards and rules, continue to strengthen the design, implementation and promotion of national standards in key and hot areas of trade, keep improving the consistency of domestic and international standards, and give better play to the important role of standardization in promoting trade growth and facilitating trade. Second, we will continue to deepen international cooperation of mutual recognition of quality certification, carry out bilateral and multilateral cooperation of mutual recognition in key areas, and expand the participation of domestic enterprises and relevant institutions to get more benefits from international cooperation of mutual recognition. We will step up efforts to promote compulsory certification of products for the target market of China's exports, facilitating the export of Chinese products. Third, we will accelerate the alignment of domestic and foreign trade products with the same production lines, standards, and quality, enhance policy guidance for the alignment, work to improve the quality, and ensure service guarantee. We will support enterprises to meet the requirements of the alignment by means of self-declaration or third-party evaluation. Thank you.



Consumption is a direct reflection of people's demands for a better life. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, Chinese people's lives have become better and better, and their consumption level has improved day by day. China now has become the second largest consumer market in the world. How do you see the development of consumption in the past ten years, and what are your plans for promoting consumption? Thank you.

Sheng Qiuping:

Thanks for your questions. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, the national commerce system has firmly implemented the strategy of expanding domestic demand and done a solid job of promoting consumption. By doing so, the scale of consumption has expanded steadily, its structure has upgraded continuously, and its mode has continued to innovate, which provided strong support for boosting high-quality development, creating high-quality life, and fostering the new development paradigm.

First, the scale of consumption has expanded steadily. As you just said, China has become the second largest market for commodity consumption globally, and its advantages of a super-large market have become more obvious. The final consumption expenditure rose from 27.5 trillion yuan in 2012 to 56.1 trillion yuan in 2020, and its proportion to GDP up to 54.7% from 51.1%. The rapid development of China's consumer market has not only improved Chinese people's lives but also provided more development opportunities for other countries. Last year, China's import volume of consumer goods reached 1.7 trillion yuan, more than double that of 2012, accounting for about 10% of the total imports.

Second, the structure of consumption has continuously upgraded. Residents' consumption has changed from quantity satisfaction to quality improvement, from commodity consumption to both commodity and service consumption, and from imitation to individuation and diversification. Last year, the Engel coefficient, a measure of food expenditure as a proportion of total household spending, was 29.8%, down 3.2 percentage points from 2012. New car sales ranked first worldwide for 13 consecutive years, and the number of cars per 1,000 people increased 1.4 times from 2012.

Third, new-type consumption has been booming. New commercial forms, models, and scenarios such as online retail, cross-border e-commerce, and mobile payments emerge constantly. Traditional commercial enterprises have sped up their digital and intelligent transformation and integration of online and offline consumption, becoming an important engine for economic growth and profoundly changing the daily lives of Chinese people. Last year, online retail sales of physical goods reached 10.8 trillion yuan, accounting for 24.5% of total retail sales of consumer goods, ranking first in the world. Green, healthy and intelligent consumption has become popular. In 2021, the sales volume of new energy vehicles reached 3.52 million, with one out of every eight new cars sold being new energy vehicles. The number of new energy vehicles reached 7.84 million, accounting for about half of the total global volume. Meanwhile, 266 million 5G mobile phones were shipped, accounting for 76% of the total shipment of mobile phones.

Fourth, urban and rural consumption has developed coordinately. Urban retail sales of consumer goods grew from 18 trillion yuan in 2012 to 38.2 trillion yuan in 2021, with an average annual growth rate of 8.7%; while retail sales in rural areas rose to 5.9 trillion yuan from 2.6 trillion yuan, with an average annual growth rate of 9.8%. Last year, retail sales of consumer goods in rural areas accounted for 13.4% of the total retail sales of consumer goods, up nearly 1 percentage point from 2012. Steady progress has been made in developing cities as international consumer centers, and its radiation effect and leading role have been strengthened. In 2021, the total retail sales of consumer goods in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Tianjin, and Chongqing accounted for 13.8% of the country's total volume.

Fifth, the contribution of consumption has increased steadily. The fundamental role of consumption in economic development has been increasingly strengthened and so have its roles as a stabilizer and anchor. Last year, the contribution rate of consumption to economic growth was 65.4%, up 10 percentage points from 2012.

Next, the MOFCOM will further implement the decisions and deployments of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, coordinate epidemic prevention and control and consumption promotion, carry out a series of consumption promotion activities, and create a platform for consumption upgrading. We will improve traditional consumption capacity, accelerate the development of new-type consumption, and promote the sustained recovery and upgrading of consumption so as to better serve the new development paradigm and better meet people's demands for a better life. Thank you.


Zhinews of Shenzhen Satellite TV:

We have noticed that Chinese customs recently issued 10 policies and measures to deal with the impact of the pandemic on foreign trade. We know that foreign trade enterprises have always been concerned about the business environment. So, what changes have taken place in the business environment of China's ports since the 18th CPC National Congress? Thank you.

Wang Lingjun:

This is a very good question because the business environment matters. As the saying goes, "plant a Chinese parasol tree, and phoenixes will follow." In the past decade, we have focused on facilitating customs clearance and have made sustained efforts. We have introduced an array of policies and measures and adopted a series of tough and practical means. The business environment at ports continues to be optimized, and the level of cross-border trade facilitation has been greatly improved. They are mainly reflected in the following aspects:

First, promote streamlining administration and delegating power, and make great efforts to cancel matters requiring government approval. Up to now, only 10 matters requiring government approval have been retained. We have improved the online customs platform for obtaining government approval, making it more convenient for enterprises to go through the procedures. We promote the oversight model of randomly selecting inspectors to inspect randomly selected entities and requiring the prompt release of results, which has covered the customs' 28 matters concerning the inspection of administrative law enforcement.

Second, carry out a special campaign for cross-border trade facilitation. Reduce time, documents and costs, and create a market-based, rule-of-law, and internationalized business environment at ports. "Reducing time" means greatly shortening the customs clearance time for goods. In 2021, the overall customs clearance time for imports was 32.97 hours, which is more than 60% shorter compared to that in 2017. The time for exports was 1.23 hours, a decrease of more than 80% compared to 2017. "Reducing documents" means streamlining the supervision certificates that need to be verified in imports and exports. The customs actively coordinated with relevant competent departments to streamline the documents and basically realized the online verification. "Reducing costs" refers to reducing compliance costs in imports and exports, and we have realized the full disclosure of the list and standards of fee-charging items at ports of the country.

Third, comprehensively promote the "single window" for international trade. Meeting enterprises' "one-stop" business processing needs, the "single window" extends from law enforcement at ports to logistics, trade, services, and other fields. With the improvement of the digital and smart level of customs clearance at ports, enterprises can inquire and track the real-time status of the customs clearance process and logistics at any time.

There is no end to the improvement of the business environment. We will, as always, persevere in promoting the continuous improvement of the business environment at ports with practical and feasible measures. Thank you.


Shou Xiaoli:

Last two questions.


Are there any special opportunities and prospects for cross-border e-commerce? Thank you.

Sheng Qiuping:

Thank you for your question. In recent years, with the advancement of internet technologies and the development of the digital economy, major changes have taken place in international trade, and cross-border e-commerce has developed rapidly from scratch. Cross-border e-commerce breaks through the limitations of time and space, reduces the intermediate links of trade, solves the problem of information asymmetry between the supply and demand sides, and provides new development opportunities for more countries and more small and medium-sized enterprises, reflecting the inclusive and universal development of trade. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to changes in consumer behavior. With a surge in online shopping demand from consumers in various countries, cross-border e-commerce has gained momentum. In this context, China's cross-border e-commerce continues to grow rapidly. Since 2015, the State Council has approved the establishment of 132 comprehensive pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce in six batches, covering 30 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities across the country. In 2018, China innovatively introduced cross-border e-commerce retail import supervision policies and gradually expanded the pilot scope to 31 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities across the country. Together with various departments and localities, the MOFCOM has replicated and promoted nearly 70 mature experiences and innovative practices across the country. We also actively participate in international cooperation. We have put forward China's solutions on multilateral occasions such as the meetings of the WTO, G20, APEC, and the WCO, and signed e-commerce cooperation memos with 23 countries. At present, many countries and regions have their own local cross-border e-commerce platforms. Relying on the advantages of the manufacturing industry and the market, local Chinese enterprises have developed rapidly, accumulating a lot of practical experiences. A number of world-leading cross-border e-commerce platforms have emerged. According to customs statistics, China's import and export through cross-border e-commerce grew nearly elevenfold in 5 years. The volume reached 1.92 trillion yuan in 2021, up 18.6% year on year. Cross-border e-commerce has greatly lowered the access threshold for international trade, enabling many small and micro entities that once didn't know how to do it, could not make it, or were not able to do it become operators of the new type of trade. So far, more than 30,000 companies have registered on the online comprehensive service platforms of cross-border e-commerce comprehensive pilot zones. At the same time, cross-border e-commerce companies have better met the personalized and customized needs of overseas consumers by creating a flexible supply chain that brings together factors and responds quickly.

China's cross-border e-commerce covers not only global sales but also purchases, enriching the supply for the domestic market, better meeting the people's needs for a better life, and injecting new momentum for the global trade investment. In recent years, many ambassadors in China have proactively promoted their own country's products through livestreaming platforms. Special local products such as Pakistan's pink salt and Bulgaria's rose water have become internet sensations and widely accepted by the consumers. Some quality brands have since entered the Chinese market via e-commerce and settled down, bracing their new development opportunities. 

We hope foreign countries will step up exchanges and mutual learning to play their part in the healthy development of the cross-border e-commerce sector and the recovery of the global economy in the post-COVID era. We also hope that governments of other countries and business organizations can actively participate in international cooperation and continue to improve the business environment so as to guide and serve cross-border e-commerce enterprises in a better way. Thank you.

Wang Lingjun:

I would like to add several points from the customs perspective. Cross-border e-commerce makes an important part of China's emerging trade forms. The General Administration of Customs has actively performed its functions and always adhered to the "inclusive, prudent, innovative and coordinative" regulatory concept to promote the new business forms to grow in an orderly manner.

First, we have innovatively improved our regulatory modes. As the cross-border e-commerce businesses will meet different clearance procedures, we have rolled out targeted and customized regulatory modes, such as "online shopping bonded imports," "direct purchase imports," "general exports," "special region exports," "B2B direct exports," and "overseas warehouse of the cross-border e-commerce exports," among others.

Second, we have smoothed the cross-border e-commerce trade channels. In particular, we have worked through the problems in returning cross-border retail goods, reassuring domestic consumers making overseas purchases.

Third, we have promoted the international regulatory cooperation of the Customs in regard to cross-border e-commerce. We hosted the Global Cross-Border E-Commerce Conference in Beijing together with the WCO, adopted the Beijing Declaration, and formulated the WCO Framework of Standards on Cross-Border E-Commerce, promoting the healthy development of the cross-border e-commerce worldwide.

Thank you.


The Paper:

Statistics show that the total number of China's market entities has reached 158 million, and 100 million of them have been established in the last 10 years. The robust growth of market entities is benefited from the sustainable improvement of the business environment, so my question is, what efforts have the market supervision authorities made in improving the business environment? What pragmatic measures will be adopted going forward? Thank you.

Pu Chun:

Thank you for your questions. To market entities, a sound business environment is like the sunshine, water, and air, each of which is a must-have. The State Administration for Market Regulation has worked to promote the stability and prosperity of the economy through improving the business environment and advanced, in-depth reforms of streamlining administration and delegating power, improving regulation, and upgrading services. Thanks to these efforts, we have effectively energized market entities of various kinds.

First, we have improved the market access system. We have introduced a regulation on the registration and administration of market entities, which for the first time set out unified provisions for the registration of market entities of all types, providing fundamental institutional guarantee for equal access, flexible transfer, and convenient exit of market entities.

Second, we have deepened reforms of systems on market access, business operating permission and market exit. We have replaced the paid-in capital registration system with subscribed capital registration system, and changed from issuing business licenses before operating permits to separating operating permits from business licenses. Efforts have been made on various issues from access of market entities to access of products, from highly efficient market access to convenient market exit, and from registration facilitation to operating permission reform for enterprises. In addition, the practice of enterprises "running back and forth" and handling matters on-site has been replaced with online access to all services and promoting application for electronic licenses and certificates. By doing so, government-imposed transaction costs can be effectively reduced when people make investments and start businesses.

Third, we have moved faster to build a new type of oversight mechanism, which is centered on oversight of credibility. Oversight conducted through the random selection of both inspectors and inspection targets and the prompt release of results has been implemented nationwide. We have also conducted inter-departmental inspections for several matters through a single visit to the same target, avoiding excessive intervention in normal business production and operations. Annual business inspections have been canceled in favor of annual information disclosures. A national enterprise credit information publicity system has been established. Also, a blacklist system for enterprises seriously violating the law or acting in bad faith has been established and improved, as has a category-based management system of corporate credit risks, to make the oversight mechanism more timely, targeted and effective.

Fourth, we have helped market entities overcome difficulties. We have taken further steps to adjust regulations for the levying of charges on enterprises, promoted the implementation of nationwide preferential policies, responded actively to price rises of bulk commodities, keep supply and prices stable in key sectors, and improved technological services for product quality to help raise the quality and performance of enterprises. Meanwhile, the establishment of an inter-departmental joint meeting mechanism to support self-employed individuals has been submitted to the State Council for approval, in order to study and draw up policies and measures to promote the healthy development of the self-employed.

Fifth, we have strengthened intellectual property rights (IPR) protection. We have stepped up IPR protection and set up a punitive damages system for IPR infringement to significantly increase the cost of infringement. We have also enhanced the protection of trade secrets by conducting trials nationwide, to protect the lawful rights and interests of enterprises.

Through ongoing reform and innovation, the average time taken to set up a business has been shortened from more than one month to within four working days. Meanwhile, the average time taken to cancel a market entity has been reduced from 100 days to 60 days. In addition, it now only takes around 20 days to deregister an enterprise through simplified procedures. The total number of market entities has reached 158 million, compared with 55 million in 2012, providing a solid micro-foundation for the stable, healthy and sustainable development of the economy. Next, the market regulation authorities will further advance reform of market access system, and improve business operating permission regulations and market exit system, so as to give better play to the role of underlying systems related to enterprises in keeping market expectations stable. We will also work hard to improve and implement supporting policies for enterprises, and study and improve the policy system for supporting self-employed individuals, so as to help ease the difficulties and support the healthy development of market entities.

Thank you.

Shou Xiaoli:

Thank you to the three speakers as well as friends from the media. Today's press conference ends here.

Translated and edited by Chen Xia, Zhou Jing, Zhang Rui, Wang Wei, Lin Liyao, Duan Yaying, Liu Sitong, Yuan Fang, Qin Qi, Mi Xingang, Huang Shan, Cui Can, Ma Yujia, Yang Xi, Wang Yiming, Zhang Jiaqi, Xu Xiaoxuan, Zhang Junmian, Zhu Bochen, Li Huiru, Wang Qian, Li Xiao, David Ball and Jay Birbeck. In case of any discrepancy between the English and Chinese texts, the Chinese version is deemed to prevail.

/5    Shou Xiaoli

/5    Sheng Qiuping

/5    Wang Lingjun

/5    Pu Chun

/5    Group photo