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Gao Feng: Friends from the press, good morning. Welcome to MOFCOM’s first regular press conference in 2020. Since I don’t have any announcement to make today, we can proceed directly to the Q&A. The floor is open.


Economic Daily: Recently, the US government introduced a rule limiting the export of artificial intelligence software, under which export restrictions will be imposed against all programs in relevant fields. What’s your comment?


Gao Feng: We Chinese people know only too well what would happen when people close their doors. In a world where economic globalization is deepening, restricting and interfering with normal international cooperation not only damages the interest of relevant businesses, including those from the US, but also triggers worries about the US trade, investment and innovation environments while disturbing the international industrial chain.


Science should not be limited by borders, and scientific and technological progress should benefit people around the whole world. China’s scientific and technological advances are earned through generations of our unremitting efforts in an open atmosphere. We will adhere to self-dependent innovation while keeping our arms open. We are ready to enhance cooperation with all other countries to advance scientific and technological innovation for shared outcomes that address difficulties in human progress and benefit people from all countries.


It is hoped thatthe US should rectify its wrong approach of generalizing national security and abusing export restriction, and foster favorable conditions for normal trade and cooperation among businesses from all countries. Thank you.


Phoenix TV: My question is about China-US economic and trade negotiations. There is a news report saying that the Chinese economic and trade team will visit Washington DC on January 13 to sign the Phase One Agreement. The same report points out that the Chinese team originally planned an earlier trip in January, which was postponed by President Trump’s unexpected tweet. Can you confirm that? Besides,what are the arrangements for the signing of the Agreement? Will it be signed on January 15? President Trump said that he would visit China immediately after the signing of the Phase One Agreement to start negotiations on the Phase Two.Can you confirm that as well?


Gao Feng: At the invitation of the US, Liu He, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, Vice Premier of the State Council and Chinese Initiator of the China-US Comprehensive Economic Dialogue, will lead a delegation to visit Washington DC from January 13 to 15 and sign the Phase One Agreement with the US. Teams from both sides are in close touch on the specifics of the signing. 


As for the Phase Two negotiations, there’s no further information that I can disclose at this moment. Thank you.


National Business Daily: MOFCOM mentioned that it would cultivate demonstration zones to promote import trade by creative means, with the aim of further facilitating trade. There are now four such demonstration zones, all located in coastal areas. Will the number grow in the future? And if so, how high could it be? Will the new demonstration zones be in central and western China?


Gao Feng: MOFCOM is assessing and summarizing the work and operation of the four existing demonstration zones. So far, these demonstration zones have played a positive role in fostering import platforms for general services, supply chains, transactions and exhibitions. In this process, useful experience has been gained as well.


We will further develop the demonstration zones based on our initial progress. When developing new demonstration zones, we will take existing ones into consideration to achieve coordinated development among eastern, central and western regions. We will highlight local characteristics and strengths, better integrate policy resources, and work in a positive, prudent and orderly manner. Thank you.


China Media Group: It is reported that more meat will be released from the central government’s stash onto the market in the near future. Can you confirm this? In addition, how is the pork market going?


Gao Feng: As the Spring Festival approaches, meat consumption is gradually entering the peak season. In order to increase the meat supply during the holiday season, the Ministry of Commerce,together with relevant departments, released the sixth batch of 20,000 tons of frozen pork from the central reserves today. At the same time, local governments have released more meat from their local reserves. So far as I know, more than 90,000 tons of local reserved pork has been or are being put onto the market in 20 localities. Before the Spring Festival, some areas will continue to see the release of meat from local reserves. In addition, we will also work with the Ministry of Finance to release part of the central stash of frozen beef and lamb to Qinghai, Ningxia, Tibet, Xinjiang, Gansu and other ethnic minority areas.


Next, the Ministryof Commerce will work with relevant departments to release more meat from the central reserves, guide local governments and enterprises to strengthen connection between production and sales, speed up the process of the division, processing,and sales of reserved meat, and effectively increase the supply on the end markets. We will encourage enterprises to expand the supply channels and enhance pork imports in line with market principles. All in all, we spare no effort tofully ensure the meat supply during the festival.


Xinhua News Agency:At present, the demand for domestic services is very strong in China, but the market supply has some constraints. How will the Ministry of Commerce promote the healthy development of the domestic service industry and further expand theeffective market supply?


Gao Feng: In recent years, the scale of China's household service market has continued to expand. It is expected to grow by more than 20% this year. In terms of the supply side, there is still much room for improvement in the quality, scale,and structure of domestic services. The Ministry of Commerce will work in the following areas.


First, improve the quality of supply. Efforts will be made to improve the skills and quality of domestic service personnel. We will strengthen the training of professional ethics and service skills of service providers, promote vocational education on domestic services, and improve the credit record system of domestic helpers and domestic service enterprises. Second, facilitate the scale of supply. We work to expand service varieties and number of service providers. Taking into consideration poverty alleviation and sustainable development in poverty-stricken areas, we will reinforce and expand efforts to reduce poverty through growing domestic service industry and creating jobs. At the same time,we will encourage domestic service companies to innovate their services and further alleviate the shortage of domestic service supply in major cities. Third,optimize the supply structure. We will give priority to the development of domestic services that are urgently needed by the elderly and children. We willencourage domestic service enterprises to provide safe, convenient andhigh-quality services for the residents of the community. Fourth, reduce the cost of supply by cutting institutional costs and improving industry efficiency. We will continue to work with relevant departments to promote the integrated development of domestic services and the Internet, improve service efficiency, optimize the business environment, and implement relevant policies on tax and fee reduction for domestic services. Fifth, maintain the order of the supply. We will protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers and domestic helpers by stepping up efforts to revise industry standards,introduce a classified medical examination system for domestic helpers, and promote insurance institutions to develop commercial insurance products that fit the characteristics of the domestic industry. Thank you.


Reuters: It is reported that the results of the first phase of negotiations between China and the United States does not cover increasing food import quotas. Since China wants to increase food imports from the United States, does China have to reduce imports from other countries at the same time?


Gao Feng: China will continue to improve the administration of tariff quotas for wheat, corn and rice in accordance with WTO rules and its WTO commitments and make full use of quotas according to market terms. This does not contradict purchasing more US agricultural products. Thank you.


Gao Feng: Any other question?


If you don’t have more questions to ask,this is the end of today’s press conference. Thank you.




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