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SCIO briefing on China's commerce development in 2015 /, February 24, 2016 Adjust font size:


Gao Hucheng, minister of commerce



Guo Weimin, vice minister of State Council Information Office



Feb. 23, 2016


Guo Weimin:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning! Welcome to this SCIO press conference. China's economic situation and its trade, including circulation, consumption and development of FTAs, have attracted wide attention at home and abroad. Today, we are honored to have Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng here to share with you information on these particular aspects and take your questions. I know there are a lot of foreign press here today so we have simultaneous interpreting. When you raise questions, we will also have them interpreted. I now give the floor to Minister Gao.

Gao Hucheng:

Mr. Guo, dear friends from the press, good morning! It gives me great pleasure to meet you just after the Lantern Festival. On behalf of the Ministry of Commerce, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all of you for your interest and support for our work and your timely reports of commerce-related news. In light of the overall development of commerce development in 2015, I would like to make a few points before having an exchange of views with you.

As you know, in 2015, we faced very complicated domestic and international situations. However, we stuck to the main theme of seeking progress while maintaining stability as required by the CPC central committee and the State Council. We actively adapted to the new normal of economic development, and properly responded to major risks and challenges. On the whole, we have maintained stability and made improvements within a medium-high growth rate, with all indicators ranked among the world's top, a hard-earn performance indeed.

Commerce development is given the task of expanding consumption, foreign trade and international investment. In 2015, China's imports and exports of goods continued to lead the world; since 2013, we have been the world's No. 1 in goods trade for three consecutive years. China's online retail sales continue to top the world, while total sales of consumer goods, import and export of trade services ranked second. China's FDI continued to lead developing countries for 24 years in a row, and its ODI ranked third in the world. It's fair to say that we have delivered a satisfactory report sheet on China's growth and international economic impetus. The main characteristics are as follows.

First, growth has many high points. In terms of consumption, in 2015, total retail sales of consumer goods stood at 30.1 trillion yuan (US$4.62 trillion), up 10.7 percent year on year. Consumption contributed 66.4 percent to economic growth, up 15.4 percentage points from the previous year. In other words, China has successfully made the major transformation from an economy whose growth was mainly driven by investment and foreign trade to one powered by internal demand, especially consumption. As to imports and exports, global trade sustained double-digit negative growth last year, although the decline in China's imports and exports was far lower than other major economies in the world. China's share of global trade was expected to jump from 12.2 percent to 13 percent, a rise of nearly one percentage point, which was the fastest growth rate in years.

Last year, China's trading surplus in goods hit US$593 billion, playing a major role in preserving national financial security. Services trade stood at US$713 billion, up 14.6 percent, a "double lift" in its share of global and China's trade. I wish to add that trade in services used to be known as a "short board" in China. However, it's actually developing very fast.

The United States was No. 1 in trade in services last year; the value reached around US$1.06 trillion, accounting for 31 percent of its total trade volume. China ranked second at US$731 billion yuan, or 18 percent of total trade volume. In terms of international investment, last year China's ODI excluding financial investment was US$118.02 billion, up 14.7 percent in yet another year of continuously rapid growth; and China's FDI stood at US$126.27 billion, up 5.6 percent, still top among developing countries.

Second, we have been able to achieve good structural results. The circulation structure was further optimized. Online sales of physical goods stood at 3.2 trillion yuan (US$491 billion), up 31.6 percent year on year, making China the country with the largest and fastest growing sector of online sales of physical goods. That accounted for around 11 percent of total retail goods sales. Now, we have a new landscape combining online and offline, spot goods and futures, wholesale and retail, as well as joint development of urban and rural circulation markets.

Third, both domestic and foreign trade have made huge contributions to economic growth. It's fair to say that these efforts have made positive contributions to stabilizing China's growth, restructuring the economy, benefitting people's livelihood and preventing risks. Despite a very difficult situation, foreign trade still contributed 18 percent of national tax revenues. In 2015, the Chinese economy contributed more than 25 percent to overall world economic growth. Amid continuously gloomy predictions on global trade, China's imports and exports still far outperformed other major economies, and that itself was a huge contribution to international trade and even to global economic development.

We can sum up our work in 2015 with three key phrases. First, we have been seeking development while maintaining stability. We mainly improved the foreign trade development environment, innovated the development mode for foreign trade, boosted trade in services and the outsourcing of services.

Second, we sought intensified reforms. We moved forward to work on the pilot FTZs, expanded the Shanghai FTZ and newly established three others. We also advanced reform and institutional innovation on domestic trade circulation, released opinions for promoting a law-based business environment for modern circulation processes, and carried out comprehensive trial reforms on domestic trade circulation in nine cities including Shanghai. We strengthened market supervision with a series of reform measures for streamlining governance and decentralizing powers.

Third, we deepened opening-up in 2015, following the lead of the "Belt and Road" Initiative. We focused on the "two markets," "two resources" and "two rules" at home and abroad, making progress in improving the overall layout. Specifically, 1) we opened new areas, we worked with other departments, revised and published the 2015 edition of the "Catalogue of Industries for Foreign Investment," and expanded the comprehensive piloting work for service industries in Beijing. 2) We achieved fresh progress in regional opening-up. We implemented innovative development projects in national economic development zones, such as supporting Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei cooperation and the Yangtze River Economic Belt. 3) We saw many highlights in bilateral and multilateral regional cooperation. As you know, the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) was upgraded, the negotiations for Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) made solid progress in that East Asian leaders agreed that the talks for RCEP should be completed by the end of this year.

As of now, China has signed trade pacts with 22 partners, accounting for 38 percent of our total trade volume. We facilitated deals and achieved consensus at the WTO Ministerial Meeting. Negotiations for China-U.S. and China-E.U. bilateral investment deals made a breakthrough, and the Chinese mainland signed the CEPA service trade deals with Hong Kong and Macao.

The above basically sums up of the work of the Ministry of Commerce in 2015. Now, I'd like to take questions from friends from the press, and communicate with you all.

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