Gao Feng: Friends from the press, good afternoon. Welcome to the MOFCOM regular press conference. First, I have two announcements to make.
First, President Xi Jinping will deliver a keynote speech via video at the opening ceremony of the third China International Import Expo and Hongqiao International Economic Forum to be held in Shanghai on November 4.
Second, briefing on the online retail market in the first three quarters this year.
In the first three quarters this year, China’s online retail market remained robust and continued to drive consumption. National online retail sales topped eight trillion yuan, up by 9.7% year-on-year. Online retail sales of physical goods increased by 15.3% year-on-year to 6.6 trillion yuan, accounting for 24.3% of the total retail sales of consumer goods, up by 4.8 percentage points from the same period of last year. Online retail has pushed market entities to move faster towards digitalization, spawned new business models and patterns, increased the efficiency of the industrial, supply and value chains and fostered new drivers for digital economy.
In the first three quarters, China’s online retail market has the following features.
First, new trends of online consumption continue to grow. Consumption for a healthy and green lifestyle has become a new trend in online retail. New models combining entertainment and consumption, such as live streaming and content e-commerce, have gained popularity. The "no-contact" model has become an important channel for goods and services to reach consumers directly.
Second, e-commerce accelerates industrial digitalization. Through the C2M model, large e-commerce enterprises create the intelligent manufacturing platform for real businesses to promote innovation, reduce costs and strengthen the weak linkages with the data, technology and creativity gathered online. The Ministry of Commerce has continued to promote the construction of the national e-commerce public service platform, and initiated the action of benefiting the people and enterprises to help enterprises, especially small and medium-sized ones, to achieve digital transformation by providing for free the data, training, credit, talent and other service resources for market players.
Third, rural e-commerce has maintained a good momentum of growth. According to big data monitoring, in the first three quarters of this year, the national rural online retail sales reached 1.2 trillion yuan, up 7.8% year-on-year. The national online retail sales of agricultural products reached 288.41 billion yuan, up 34.3% year-on-year. The Ministry of Commerce has pushed forward the comprehensive demonstration of e-commerce in rural areas to create an upgraded version of the comprehensive demonstration, and actively carried out brand building and promotion activities for agricultural and special products in Guangxi, Hebei, Qinghai and other places to promote the continuous growth of rural online retail.
Fourth, cross-border e-commerce has promoted the upgrading of foreign trade. Driven by policies such as the expansion of cross-border e-commerce pilot zones and B2B export supervision pilots, cross-border e-commerce has maintained a good growth momentum. Big data on key e-commerce retail import platform shows that cross-border e-commerce retail imports increased by more than 17% year-on-year. Japan, the US and Australia are the top three import sources, accounting for 16.3%, 15.1% and 8.9% respectively. Cosmetics, oil and food and apparels and footwear ranked among the top three in terms of import value, accounting for 32.7%, 24.4% and 12.9% respectively.
Fifth, online services consumption picked up at a quicker pace. With the significant strategic achievements in epidemic prevention and control in China, online service consumption continued to expand. Big data monitoring shows that in the third quarter, online consumption of food and beverage grew by nearly 10 % year-on-year, while online tourism began to witness positive growth.
Gao Feng: This is my briefing to you today. Now I’m ready to take your questions.
Xinhua News Agency: The just-concluded online Canton Fair has hit record in terms of web traffic and the number of exhibitors and exhibits, signaling a trend of digital transformation for exporters. To promote exhibition innovation and digital trade, what progress had MOFCOM made and will there be new measures going forward?
Gao Feng: The just-concluded 128th Canton Fair has employed such new technologies as the internet, big data, cloud computing, and AI to support the participation of over 26,000 businesses in the form of photos, videos, 3D, and VR, offering more opportunities to businesses. The digital transformation of many exporters has also injected vitality into China’s foreign trade development.
MOFCOM has worked actively on the innovative development of the exhibition industry. At present, exhibitions across the country are making innovations in service, management, and business forms and models. The characteristics are as follows:
First, exhibitions are taking on more diversified formats. As professional internet services are deeply integrated with traditional exhibitions, physical exhibitions are gradually moving away from a single format to a combination of online and offline exhibitions. Online-offline interaction and integrated development has become a prominent trend.
Second, exhibition organizers are becoming more professional. State-owned, private, and foreign-invested organizers are all creating new ways of holding exhibitions, and seeking to become more professional, technical, and personalized while building online platforms.
Third, the target markets have become more diversified. The exhibitions are open to both domestic and international markets, with more fine-grained industries, business, and markets, and more international influence. This has boosted the dual cycles and domestic and international development.
Fourth, digital transformation has sped up. As realted policies and measures are gradually implemented, the exhibition organizers are accelerating digital transformation and experimenting with various models of online exhibition, creating new services, and fostering new drivers for the exhibition industry.
Going forward, MOFCOM, in collaboration with related authorities and in accordance with the decisions and plans of the central government, will provide policy support to encourage innovations in exhibition models, make sure they are market-based, professional, international, branded, and digitalized, improve the structure of the exhibition industry, enhance integration with industries, foster special and featured exhibitions, strengthen market entities, build up the exhibition industrial chains, and improve public service platforms. We will strive for the high-quality development of the exhibition industry, and contribute to the new development paradigm with the domestic circulation as the mainstay, and with domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. Thank you.
Yicai: The 33rd round of China-EU bilateral investment treaty negotiations was held between October 18th and 23rd. Is it likely to conclude the talks by the end of the year judging from the current progress?
Gao Feng: This year, China and the EU have held eight rounds of negotiations with intensified efforts despite the COVID-19 impact. The two sides have scored progress in the text and lists, and are focusing on the outstanding issues of the text and market access.
In the 33rd round of negotiations held last week, the two sides explored practical solutions to the remaining issues and made positive progress, guided by the agreement of the leaders of China, Germany and the EU in their virtual meeting on September 14th to conclude the talks within this year.
It is a common goal of China and the EU to reach a deal at an early date. China is willing to make concerted efforts with the EU side to foster consensus while accommodating each other’s’ concerns and moving in the same direction. The two sides will strive to conclude the talks by the end of the year, as the leaders instructed, so as to take China-EU trade and economic cooperation to new heights. Thank you.
CGTN: According to Yonhap News Agency, China and the ROK held the 20th session of their trade remedy mechanism on October 28. Can you tell us more about the details?
Gao Feng: On October 28, the Ministry of Commerce of China and the relevant department of the the ROK’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy held via video link the 20th session of the China-ROK trade remedy cooperation mechanism and the 5th session of the trade remedy committee of the China-Korea FTA. The two sides fully affirmed the positive role of the trade remedy cooperation mechanism, focused on discussing relevant technical issues in trade remedy investigations, and communicated on anti-dumping cases under investigation by the two sides. The two sides agreed to continue to strengthen communication and cooperation on trade remedies, jointly oppose trade protectionism and properly handle bilateral trade frictions for the sake of the healthy and stable development of China-ROK trade and economic cooperation. Thank you!
Gao Feng: This brings us to the end of today's press conference, thank you all.
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