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国新办 2022-01-20 1095次



Xing Huina:


Ladies and gentlemen, good morning! Welcome to this press conference held by the State Council Information Office (SCIO). The SCIO will be hosting a series of press conferences on China's annual economic data. The first press conference being held today will focus on China's import and export performance in 2021. We are delighted to be joined by Mr. Li Kuiwen, spokesperson of the General Administration of Customs (GACC) and director of the GACC's Department of Statistics & Analysis, who will introduce the situation and answer your questions.


We will first invite Mr. Li Kuiwen to give a brief introduction.


Li Kuiwen:


Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the media, good morning! Welcome to today's press conference. It's a great pleasure to meet with you again. Next, I'll begin by introducing China's import and export performance for 2021, and then answer your questions.


In 2021, with the world experiencing the combined impacts of major changes and a pandemic both unseen in a century, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, China has used high-level opening-up to promote deeper reform and stimulate high-quality growth. China has stayed ahead globally in terms of economic development and pandemic response, and maintained rapid growth in foreign trade, which registered a record high in volume and steady progress in quality. According to statistics from the GACC, China's total foreign trade of goods expanded 21.4% year on year to 39.1 trillion yuan in 2021. Exports grew by 21.2% to 21.73 trillion yuan and imports increased by 21.5% to 17.37 trillion yuan. Compared with the same period in 2019, China's foreign trade, exports and imports increased by 23.9%, 26.1% and 21.2%, respectively. In 2021, there were five main features which I will now outline:


First, China's foreign trade moved up another notch in 2021 by exceeding $6 trillion for the first time. The total goods trade amounted to $6.05 trillion. China first reached $4 trillion in foreign trade in 2013. In the following eight years, it crossed the thresholds of $5 trillion, and then $6 trillion in 2021, reaching a record high. The increase in foreign trade this year reached $1.4 trillion.


Second, China's trade with its main trading partners maintained sound growth. China's trade with countries along the Belt and Road rose at a faster speed. In 2021, China's trade with its top five trading partners, the ASEAN, the European Union, the United States, Japan and the Republic of Korea, stood at 5.67 trillion yuan, 5.35 trillion yuan, 4.88 trillion yuan, 2.4 trillion yuan and 2.34 trillion yuan, respectively, up 19.7%, 19.1%, 20.2%, 9.4% and 18.4%, respectively. During the same period, China's trade with countries along the Belt and Road rose by 23.6%, 2.2 percentage points higher than the overall growth rate.


Third, the trade models have been further optimized, with general trade accounting for more than 60%. In 2021, China's general trade increased by 24.7% to 24.08 trillion yuan, accounting for 61.6% of the total foreign trade volume, up 1.6 percentage points; among general trade, exports rose by 24.4% to 13.24 trillion yuan and imports rose 25% to 10.84 trillion yuan. During the same period, processing trade increased by 11.1% to 8.5 trillion yuan, accounting for 21.7% of the total foreign trade volume.


Fourth, foreign trade entities have been further energized, with the private sector playing a more important role. In 2021, the number of enterprises involved in exports and imports increased by 36,000 to 567,000. China's private sector registered 19 trillion yuan in imports and exports, an increase of 26.7%, accounting for 48.6% of the country's total foreign trade volume and 2 percentage points higher than the previous year. Meanwhile, foreign-invested enterprises marked 14.03 trillion yuan in foreign trade, up by 12.7%; and state-owned enterprises accumulated 5.94 trillion yuan, up by 27.7%.


Fifth, exports and imports of electromechanical products maintained sound growth. In 2021, China's exports of electromechanical products increased by 20.4% to 12.83 trillion yuan, making up 59% of the country's total exports. Exports of automatic data processing equipment and its parts, cellphones, and automobiles increased by 12.9%, 9.3% and 104.6%, respectively. Meanwhile, imports of electromechanical products increased by 12.2% to 7.37 trillion yuan, accounting for 42.4% of total imports. The imports of integrated circuits increased by 15.4%.


2021 marked a milestone year in the history of the CPC and the country. Amid challenges and difficulties posed by the pandemic, China made outstanding achievements in foreign trade, which speaks volumes of its resilience. This is the result of the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core. Over the past year, China's customs have followed the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, kept firmly in mind the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core and keep in alignment. We have also strengthened our confidence in the path, theory, system and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and resolutely upheld General Secretary Xi Jinping's core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole, and resolutely upheld the Party Central Committee's authority and its centralized, unified leadership. We have fully implemented major policy decisions and plans of the Party Central Committee and the State Council and got things done in a timely manner. Coordinated efforts have been made to prevent the pandemic at ports and promote the steady growth of foreign trade. Supervision has been strengthened and services have been optimized. With all these efforts, we have effectively promoted the steady growth in the volume and quality of foreign trade.


In general, our foreign trade has gotten off to a good start in the 14th Five-year Plan period (2021-2025). Looking ahead throughout this year, it will face more uncertainties, instability, and imbalance. The Chinese economy faces pressure from the three aspects of demand contraction, supply shock, and weakening expectations. As the global COVID-19 situation remains grim, the external environment is prone to be more complex, graver, and more uncertain, with the recovery of international demand slowing down. In addition, because of the high foreign trade base in 2021, it will continue to face certain pressure in 2022. While facing these difficulties and challenges, we must also see that the Chinese economy is resilient and that the fundamentals sustaining China's steady and long-term economic growth remain unchanged. We must have firm confidence in stabilizing the fundamentals of foreign trade.


Next, customs will uphold the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, fully implement the guiding principles of the 19th CPC National Congress and the plenary sessions of the 19th CPC Central Committee, and earnestly implement the decisions and plans of the Central Economic Work Conference. Customs will continue to follow the general principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability, fully and faithfully apply the new development philosophy, accelerate the fostering of a new pattern of development, and continue to ensure stability on the six fronts and security in the six areas. Customs will coordinate development and security, coordinate the pandemic prevention and control at ports and efforts to achieve a steady foreign trade growth, strengthen supervision and improve services, and continue to optimize the business environment at ports to better serve high-level openness and high-quality development. Customs will also do a good job in cross-cycle adjustment and promote the stable development of foreign trade to welcome the convening of the 20th CPC National Congress with excellent performance.


Now, I would like to take your questions.


Xing Huina:


Thank you, Mr. Li, for your introduction. Now, it is time for questions. Please indicate the media organization you work for before raising questions.


China Daily:


China's foreign trade volume maintained double-digit growth in 2021, hitting a record high. What are the main driving factors? What are your expectations for foreign trade this year? Thank you.


Li Kuiwen:


Thank you for your questions. China's foreign trade achieved rapid growth in 2021. Its volume exceeded the $5 trillion and $6 trillion thresholds over the year, setting new highs while its quality improved steadily. It has gotten off to a good start in the 14th Five-year Plan period. In our view, the main factors driving the growth are as follows:


First, China maintained a globally leading position in economic development and pandemic control. In 2021, the Chinese economy continued to recover. The country took new steps to build a new development pattern, made new progress in high-quality development, and maintained rapid growth in its major economic indicators. The Chinese economy is resilient, and the fundamentals sustaining China's steady and long-term economic growth remain unchanged. Domestic production and consumption demand provided strong support for the steady growth of foreign trade. According to customs statistics, in 2021, China's import and export of intermediate products rose by 24.9% and 28.6%, respectively, while the import of consumer goods increased by 9.9%.


Second, the global economy remained on a trajectory toward recovery. The global economy showed a recovery trend in general in 2021. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund both predicted that the global economy would grow by over 5%, and the World Trade Organization predicted that the global trade of goods would go up by 10.8%. In 2021, China's export to the EU and Africa both grew by over 20%, and its export to Latin America increased by over 40%. From a product perspective, on top of the high growth in 2020, China's export of products related to the stay-at-home economy, such as laptops, tablets, and household appliances, increased by 13.2% in 2021, while its export of medical and medicinal materials as well as medicines grew by 101.2% – strong support of the global fight against COVID-19.


Third, policies and measures to stabilize growth continued to work. Since last year, China has introduced a series of policies and measures to stabilize market entities and the market as well as to ensure a stable and smooth industrial chain and supply chain of foreign trade. Examples are maintaining reasonable and sufficient liquidity, extending and improving some tax and fee cuts, implementing new structural tax cuts; increasing financing support for micro, small, and medium companies and manufacturing businesses; deepening reforms to streamline administration and delegate power, improve regulation, and upgrade services; continuously optimizing the business environment, accelerating the development of new forms and models of business in foreign trade; further deepening the reform of cross-border trade facilitation; and promoting the reform and innovation in trade and investment facilitation in pilot free-trade zones. Their sound implementation ensured continuous effects, helping foreign trade companies out of difficulties and greatly stimulating the vitality of market entities. They served as an important support for the steady growth of foreign trade.


Regarding the trend of China's foreign trade, as I mentioned earlier, as the COVID-19 pandemic is still undergoing many twists and turns, China faces a more complicated, severe, and uncertain international environment, and the comparative advantage and cardinal effect that the Chinese economy can depend on to take the lead to recover may weaken. All the above bring more uncertainties, destabilizing factors, and imbalances to the development of China's foreign trade in 2022. However, we should understand that the fundamentals sustaining China's steady and long-term economic growth remain unchanged, which will provide powerful support for maintaining stability in foreign trade. Thank you.




China's import and export to countries along the Belt and Road's routes outpaced the global average over the past year. Were there any highlights you'd like to share? What new measures have China's customs taken in jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative? Thank you.


Li Kuiwen:


Thank you for your questions. Last year marked the eighth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Since the BRI was put into action, the trade relationship between China and BRI-participating countries has been increasingly close. Data from China's customs showed that in 2021, China's import and export to countries along the routes reached 11.6 trillion yuan, up 23.6%, 2.2 percentage points higher than the overall growth rate of China's foreign trade in the same period. Of this, exports reached 6.59 trillion yuan, up 21.5%; imports totaled 5.01 trillion yuan, up 26.4%. That growth is mainly down to the following aspects.


First, the trade volume has grown steadily. From 2013 to 2021, China's total import and export volume with countries along the routes increased from 6.46 trillion yuan to 11.6 trillion yuan, with an average annual growth rate of 7.5%, and its share in China's total foreign trade increased from 25% to 29.7% in the same period.  


Second, the cooperation of the industrial and supply chains has tightened. From 2013 to 2021, the proportion of intermediate products in China's exports to BRI-participating countries increased from 49.8% in 2013 to 56.2% in 2021. The export of auto parts, textiles, and lithium electronic batteries increased by 26.7%, 14.1%, and 50.4%, respectively, in 2021.


Third, the cooperation in energy, agriculture, and mineral resources has gained momentum. In 2021, China imported 1.18 trillion yuan of crude oil from countries along the routes, an increase of 44%; 326.55 billion yuan in agricultural products, up 26.1%; 212.77 billion yuan in metal ores, up 24.9%; and 185.45 billion yuan in natural gas, up 38.9%.


Fourth, private enterprises have been active. In 2021, the import and export of private enterprises to BRI-participating countries reached 6.21 trillion yuan, an increase of 25.6%, accounting for 53.5% of China's overall import and export to those countries during the same period, an increase of 0.8 percentage point.


Last year, we mainly did the following work to jointly promote high-quality BRI cooperation.

第一,加快“三智”建设。2021年2月9日,习近平主席在中国—中东欧国家领导人峰会上发出深化海关贸易安全和通关便利化合作、开展“智慧海关、智能边境、智享联通”合作试点的重大倡议。全国海关认真贯彻落实习近平主席重要指示精神,认真贯彻落实“三智”理念,将“三智”理念融入业务改革发展,制订并实施了《海关总署关于加快“三智”建设 服务“一带一路”高质量发展的意见》,打通“三智”与“一带一路”工作机制,实现强强联合,“1+1“大于2。目前全国海关已培育78个“三智”国际合作项目,其中多个项目涉及“一带一路”沿线国家。

First, we have stepped up efforts to promote the "Smart Customs, Smart Borders, and Smart Connectivity" Initiative. Chinese President Xi Jinping called for deepening customs cooperation to ensure trade security and faster clearance and exploring cooperation on a pilot basis under the "Smart Customs, Smart Borders, and Smart Connectivity" Initiative while hosting the China-CEEC Summit on Feb. 9, 2021. China's customs have resolutely implemented the important instructions of President Xi and promoted reform and development of the customs service fully in line with the initiative. A guideline has been formulated and implemented to strongly combine the initiative and high-quality BRI development, so as to realize "one plus one is greater than two." Until now, we have launched 78 global cooperation projects, most of which involve countries along the routes.


Second, we have formulated a work plan to promote the high-quality development of the BRI cooperation during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025). The year 2021 was the inaugural year of China's 14th Five-Year Plan. To accomplish the work for the year in a scientific and effective way, the GACC has formulated this plan by adopting a problem-oriented and objective-oriented approach. We have achieved coordinated development with a focus on the key countries, sectors, and projects. Under the "Smart Customs, Smart Borders, and Smart Connectivity" Initiative, we have ramped up efforts to promote the joint development of the BRI cooperation, thereby offering wisdom and strengths to the modernization of the national governance system and capabilities.


Third, we pragmatically pushed forward key projects. We have made every effort to promote "Authorized Economic Operator" (AEO) mutual recognition and cooperation with countries that are willing to jointly build the Belt and Road. In 2021, we overcame the impact of the pandemic and signed AEO mutual recognition agreements with five countries jointly building the Belt and Road — Serbia, Chile, Iran, Uganda, and South Africa. By the end of 2021, China customs had signed AEO mutual recognition agreements with 31 countries jointly building the Belt and Road. In addition, we pragmatically promoted the "Customs-Train Operators Partnership for Secure and Expedited Clearance of CR Express Carried Goods (C-TOP)," and signed cooperation documents with Kazakhstan and Belarus on the C-TOP program to support the development of China-Europe freight trains, further expand connectivity and cooperation, and promote unimpeded trade. Thank you.


Beijing Youth Daily:


The Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics will open soon. What services and guarantees does the customs system provide for the smooth running of the Winter Olympics and Paralympics? Thank you.


Li Kuiwen:


Thank you for your question. The Beijing Winter Olympics is a major landmark event at an important historical time in China. The GACC resolutely implements the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping's important instructions on the COVID-19 prevention and control at ports and the preparation for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics, strengthens supervision, and optimizes services. We will unremittingly implement port pandemic prevention and control in a scientific and targeted manner, ensure high-quality and efficient services for the health quarantine of inbound personnel, and carry out material customs clearance for the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. The GACC will make due contributions to safeguarding the security of the Chinese capital city and ensuring the smooth holding of the Winter Olympics and Paralympics. Our work is mainly as follows:


First, we will implement port pandemic prevention and control in a scientific and targeted manner and provide services for the arrival and departure of Olympic-related personnel while resolutely curbing the spread of the pandemic through the port. We will strengthen communication with the arrival and departure center of the Beijing 2022 organizing committee and other departments, learn about the information of inbound and outbound personnel in advance, continue to refine the customs clearance guarantee plan, and implement the "one flight, one policy" for all Winter Olympics-related flights so as to achieve strict supervision, targeted quarantine, and efficient services. For example, in order to reduce the time people stay at the port, we have specifically compiled the Instructions for Health Declaration of Inbound Winter Olympics Charter Flights and translated it into multiple languages so that Olympic-related personnel can fill in health declaration cards in advance before boarding. The efficiency of customs clearance will then be improved. In accordance with the requirement that "the prescribed routines must be done 100%; even the 99% is unqualified," we strictly standardize all measures in aspects of health declaration card verification, temperature monitoring, medical inspection, sampling and testing, handover and transfer, and information reporting for inbound personnel. We have paid close attention to the pandemic prevention and control work at the port and resolutely curb the spread of the pandemic through the port. As of Jan. 10, 2022, Beijing customs has monitored and handled a total of 196 Olympic-related flights, involving 5,958 Olympic-related personnel.


Second, we continue to optimize our services to ensure the efficient customs clearance of the Winter Olympics materials. We have issued the Notice on Customs Clearance for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Winter Paralympic Games in advance to provide detailed guidelines for inbound and outbound materials and personnel for the Winter Olympics in eight aspects, including information registration and filing, tax guarantees for temporarily imported materials, pre-entry filing and approval, customs clearance of imported materials, supervision of personnel and personal items, and customs clearance of journalists' interview equipment. At the same time, we have set up special customs channels and special windows for inbound and outbound Winter Olympics materials and personnel, relied on the Winter Olympics' paperless customs clearance management system to simplify the declaration, and implemented the "5+2" (5 working days + 2 weekend days) reservation clearance system in order to ensure that Winter Olympics materials are available for inspection 24 hours a day. In addition, we have worked hard to supervise imported food related to the Olympics and ensure the safe and smooth supply of imported food for the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics. As of Jan. 10, 2022, Beijing customs has monitored, handled, inspected, and released 637 shipments of inbound materials for the Winter Olympics, with a value of approximately 1.499 billion yuan.


Third, we strengthen investment in technology and personnel to provide strong support for the Winter Olympics with high-quality and efficient customs supervision services. Beijing customs, as the competent customs office for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympics, has been promoting the transformation of the special achievements of the high-tech Winter Olympics. It has deployed and applied 10 kinds of equipment and facilities such as the nuclear radiation holographic positioning system, universal disinfection cabinets, trace odor detectors, and intelligent inspection robots at the port, in a bid to improve the intelligence and informatization level of supervision and clearance for the Winter Olympics. Beijing customs keeps improving the "horizontal + vertical" human resources echelon working mechanism. It has established a support echelon, including more than 1,000 front-line and reserve personnel and more than 400 emergency support personnel, to provide all-around backup support for Olympic-related personnel during the peak period for their entry, according to the actual needs of the Winter Olympics customs clearance work. Thank you.


Phoenix TV:


China just celebrated the 20th anniversary of its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) last month. What are the characteristics of China's import and export of goods over the past 20 years? Thank you.


Li Kuiwen:


Thank you for your question. The year 2021 marked the 20th anniversary of China's accession to the WTO. Customs data showed that the total volume of China's imports and exports increased from 4.22 trillion yuan in 2001 to 39.1 trillion yuan in 2021, up by an annual average rate of 12.2%. Customs data are official figures from China's import and export of goods. The statistics reflect the leap-forward development of our trade in goods over the past 20 years.


First, the total import and export of goods have increased by more than eight times, making China the world's largest trader in goods. The total value of China's imported and exported goods was 4.22 trillion yuan in 2001, and exceeded 10 trillion yuan, 20 trillion yuan, and 30 trillion yuan in 2005, 2010, and 2018, respectively. The figure approached 40 trillion yuan in 2021, registering an increase of 8.3 times in 20 years. In particular, the total value rose from 24.4 trillion yuan to 39.1 trillion yuan in the past 10 years, with an increment of 14.7 trillion yuan, equivalent to China's import and export of goods in 2009. This has epitomized China's achievements in reform and opening-up in the new era. What's more, China's import and export of goods accounted for only 4% of the world's total in 2001, and its share jumped to 13.5% in the first three quarters of 2021. In 2013, China became the world's largest trader of goods. In 2021, the total value of US dollar-denominated imports and exports exceeded 6 trillion yuan for the first time in history.


Second, the structure of exports has changed significantly, with machinery and electronic products now accounting for nearly 60% of all exports. Over the past 20 years, China's export of goods has grown at an average annual rate of 12.5%. Machinery and electronic products have become the most exported products, accounting for 59% of the total in 2021. It is worth mentioning that since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has actively promoted international anti-pandemic cooperation and provided hundreds of millions of masks, protective suits, test kits, vaccines, and other materials to the international community, thus contributing to the global COVID-19 response and economic recovery.


Third, imports have continuously expanded, and the import of high-tech and resource products has grown steadily. Over the past 20 years, China's import of goods has increased at an average annual rate of 11.8%. In 2009, China became the world's second-largest importer. In the first three quarters of 2021, China's imports accounted for 12.1% of the international market. A more open Chinese market has enabled the rest of the world to better share in the dividends brought by its economic growth and booming consumption. Over the past 20 years, China's import of high-tech products has risen steadily at an average annual rate of 14%, promoting the transformation and upgrading of the industrial structure. The import of resource products has expanded in an orderly manner. The import of metal ore, crude oil, coal, natural gas, and other resource products has increased at an average annual rate of 18%, providing a strong supply to ensure steady domestic economic growth.


Fourth, China has diversified its trading partners, with ASEAN becoming our largest trading partner. Over the past 20 years, we have maintained stable trade relations with traditional markets, including the European Union, the United States, Japan, and South Korea, which together accounted for 38.3% of China's total foreign trade in 2021. At the same time, we have actively explored emerging markets such as ASEAN, Africa, Latin America, Russia, and India. These partners accounted for 16% of China's total foreign trade in 2001, but the figure increased to 30.7% in 2021. Among them, ASEAN became China's largest trading partner in 2020, and it remained so in 2021, accounting for 14.5% of China's total foreign trade. It is worth noting that China has continued to deepen trade relations with countries along the Belt and Road, expand trade scale and further promote the balanced and mutually beneficial development of trade.


Fifth, the number of foreign trade entities multiplied, with private enterprises taking up the largest share of all business entities in foreign trade. In 2021, 567,000 Chinese enterprises actually engaged in import and export business, 6.3 times more than that in 2001. In 2019, private enterprises took up a 42.7% share in the gross value of imports and exports of China, increasing significantly from 6.1% in 2001. In 2021, their share grew to 48.6%. Over the past 20 years, private enterprises have taken up the largest share of all foreign trade entities in China. Meanwhile, the number of foreign-invested enterprises actually engaging in import and export business also further increased to reach 82,000 in 2021, an increase of 21,000 compared with that in 2001, with the average annual import and export scale of the enterprises reaching 170 million yuan, increasing by 4.8 times compared with 2001.


Sixth, in foreign trade, new driving forces have been constantly stimulated, and new business modes have emerged one after another. Customs statistics show that in 2021, imports and exports in China's comprehensive bonded zones, pilot free-trade zones, and the Hainan Free Trade Port increased by 24.3%, 26.4%, and 57.7%, respectively, demonstrating a strong development momentum. In terms of the new trade modes, the scale of cross-border e-commerce and market procurement trade expanded rapidly. In 2021, the import and export volume of China's cross-border e-commerce reached 1.98 trillion yuan, up 15%, and market procurement trade's exports increased by 32.1%. Thank you.



The RCEP deal came into force on Jan. 1, 2022. Could you briefly introduce China's trade with RCEP member countries as it stood last year? What have customs done to promote the implementation of the RCEP deal? Thank you.


Li Kuiwen:


Thanks for your question. On Jan. 1, 2022, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement came into force in six ASEAN countries, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as China, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia, marking the start of the world's largest free trade zone so far. Customs statistics show that in 2021, China's imports from and exports to the other 14 RCEP member countries reached 12.07 trillion yuan, up 18.1%, and accounting for 30.9% of China's total foreign trade. Of this, exports reached 5.64 trillion yuan, up 16.8%, while imports reached 6.43 trillion yuan, up 19.2%.


Among the 701 binding obligations of the RCEP agreement, the GACC is responsible for 174 items solely or jointly, accounting for 24.8% of the total. At present, relevant work has been done comprehensively. The GACC's main work in promoting the implementation of the RCEP agreement can be seen in the following three aspects:


First, in the aspect of rules of origin and tariff concessions. The GACC issued two relevant regulations, namely measures on the administration of origin of goods imported and exported under the RCEP and measures for the administration of approved exporters, along with four supporting normative documents. In response to RCEP's tariff concession model and requirements for implementation of the rules of origin, we upgraded the informationization system for customs origin of goods management, realized the shared use of visa data and customs clearance data, and built a three-dimensional customs supervision and service network, which combines origin of goods management, enterprises management, and commodity management. We completed the consultations on the transposition of product-specific rules as well as the consultations on the guidance for the implementation of the rules of origin. We shared China's approach with other members for a consensus to be reached and overcame obstacles for the implementation of the RCEP deal.


Second, in the aspect of customs procedures and trade facilitation. Focusing on the RCEP trade facilitation rules, we continued to perfect customs clearance procedures, improve customs clearance efficiency, and reduce customs clearance costs, aiming to accelerate the building of a market-oriented, law-based, and international business environment at ports. The RCEP members were encouraged to optimize their own workflows, and standardize and simplify customs regulatory procedures. We jointly reviewed customs procedures with other RCEP members. We formulated the plan to promote the mutual recognition of AEO between China and other RCEP members and its implementation. So far, China has signed mutual recognition arrangements with five of the 10 RCEP members with the AEO system. Relevant measures have been piloted at comprehensive bonded zones in the free trade zones in Shanghai, Guangdong, Tianjin, and Fujian, such as clarifying the range of acceptable "minor discrepancies or errors" for certificates of origin under preferential trade agreements.


Third, in terms of animal and plant quarantine, food security, and import and export commodity inspection, we leveraged China's highly complementary cooperation with RCEP members in animal and plant quarantine, comprehensively straightened the access mechanisms for imported agricultural products, and promoted the export of China's high-quality agricultural products. We strengthened animal and plant epidemic information sharing with RCEP members, advanced international epidemic surveillance collaboration, and launched the upgraded version of China-ASEAN animal and plant quarantine and food security cooperation information website. We paid more attention to and strengthened studies on relevant technical trade measures taken by RCEP members, raised our trade concerns, and actively negotiated with foreign members through bilateral and multilateral channels so as to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of China's export enterprises.


At the same time, we worked hard to publicize and interpret the policies on RCEP customs business. In particular, we organized nearly one thousand training programs regarding rules of origin in various forms and through diverse platforms to help acquaint enterprises with these rules, conventional tariff rates, and related requirements of favored customs clearance for import and export goods, the application for certificates of origin and independent statement issuance, among others. Thank you.  


People's Daily:  


The Central Economic Work Conference proposed that the micro-economy should continue to stimulate the vitality of market entities. How was the import and export performance of foreign trade market players last year? What measures did the GACC introduce to galvanize the foreign trade enterprises? Thank you.


Li Kuiwen:  


Thank you for your question. In 2021, China's foreign trade businesses continued to gain momentum, which strongly supported the steady growth of foreign trade. The number of enterprises with substantive import and export achievements increased by 36,000 to 567,000. Among them, private enterprises remained the largest foreign trade entity in China, with imports and exports totaling 19 trillion yuan, up 26.7% and accounting for 48.6% of the country's total foreign trade. Imports and exports of foreign-invested companies remained stable at 14.03 trillion yuan, up 12.7%, and those of state-owned enterprises accelerated and rose by 27.7% to 5.94 trillion yuan.  


To stimulate the vitality of foreign trade market players, the administration made efforts in the main following aspects in 2021:


First, we implemented the reforms to streamline administration and delegate power, improve regulation, and upgrade services, and enabled the filing of customs declaration entities to be addressed online in the whole process and anywhere across the country. We further deepened the reforms mentioned above, actively promoted the transformation from approval to filing of all the customs declaration entities, and introduced measures for the convenience and benefits of the people and enterprises, including the whole process of online filing anywhere nationwide. Under these measures, enterprises can log in the "China International Trade Single Window" or the "Online Customs" websites for filing across the country, and print the filing receipt after the local customs' review, moving the whole process online and making it paperless. If enterprises happen to choose the wrong local customs, the customs that receives the application should be responsible for handling the application, thus enabling enterprises to apply at any site nationwide and settle documentation all at once without any cost or travel.


Second, we have sped up the international mutual recognition and cooperation of AEOs to help enterprises enjoy convenience further afield. In doing this, we focused on Belt and Road countries, RCEP members, Central and Eastern European countries, and other major trading countries. Since 2021, China has completed AEO mutual recognition with Serbia, Chile, Uganda, Iran, and South Africa. To date, China has signed AEO mutual recognition agreements with 21 economies, including the European Union and Singapore, covering 47 countries and regions — the most in the world. Among them, 31 are Belt and Road countries, five are RCEP members, and 13 are Central and Eastern European countries. When China's AEO enterprises export goods to countries and regions with mutual recognition, they can enjoy the convenient measures offered by local customs, including reduced inspection, priority handling, the appointment of liaison officers, and prioritization of customs clearance during emergencies so as to reduce trade costs and enhance enterprises' vitality.  


Third, we have strengthened intellectual property protection and boosted companies' innovation. We took stringent measures to crack down on intellectual property infringement and carried out a series of campaigns, including comprehensive intellectual property protection, intellectual property protection in shipping and delivery channels, and intellectual property protection for export transshipment goods. We also formulated a knowledge graph centering on intellectual property customs protection and developed and piloted a new-generation inspection management system featuring the use of intelligent identification of intellectual property and trademarks on mobile devices. We provided guidance and services regarding company-specific intellectual property protection and strengthened companies' awareness and capability in intellectual property protection. We continued to enhance law-enforcement cooperation across different departments, customs zones, and borders and cemented whole chain of intellectual property protection so as to better serve the innovative development of companies.


Next, the GACC will follow the requirements of boosting the confidence of foreign trade entities and deepen the reforms of streamlining administration and delegating power, improving regulation, and upgrading services. We will also improve the business environment at ports, help companies to address their difficulties and resume development, and further stimulate the vitality and growth momentum of foreign trade entities.


Global Times:


The pandemic has dealt a severe blow to the traditional way of trade, while new business forms and models such as cross-border e-commerce have played a vital role in ensuring orders, markets, and market shares. Can you please tell us more about new modes of foreign trade in 2021? Thank you.


Li Kuiwen:


Thank you for your question. New business forms and models such as cross-border e-commerce and market procurement are an important part of China's foreign trade, and they also reflect a key trend in international trade development. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, China's cross-border e-commerce has unleashed its strength in online marketing, online transaction, and contactless delivery, grown its new strength in international cooperation and competition, and has thus registered rapid and sustained growth in foreign trade.


First, in terms of cross-border e-commerce, B2B export pilot programs have been expanded, and the China-Europe freight trains have developed in tandem with new business forms such as goods consolidation and transit trade. In order to help export enterprises engaged in cross-border e-commerce to better tap into the international market, the B2B export supervision pilot program regarding cross-border e-commerce was expanded to customs across China in the latter half of 2021, with supporting policies being constantly improved. Meanwhile, cross-border e-commerce railways, including those from the China-SCO cooperation demo area to Minsk in Belarus, from Yiwu and Suzhou to Europe, and from Hefei to Hamburg and Wilhelmshaven in Germany, opened and began regular operations, resulting in the integrated development of China-Europe freight train and cross-border e-commerce. Data shows that cross-border e-commerce registered a trade volume of 1.98 trillion yuan in 2021, increasing 15% year on year. Exports of cross-border e-commerce reached 1.44 trillion yuan, rising 24.5% year on year.


Second, the export volume through market procurement trade has exceeded 900 billion yuan. As China expands its national market procurement pilots, the figure in 2021 amounted to 930.4 billion yuan, up 32.1%, accounting for 4.3% of the total export of the same period and driving exports growth by 1.3 percentage points. Thank you.


Xing Huina:


Due to time constraints, we will have one last question.


China News Service:


As we know, China's foreign trade aimed to remain stable in size and achieve high-quality development in 2021. In terms of improving quality, what were the new development and features of China's imports and exports last year? Thank you.


Li Kuiwen:


Thank you for your question. In 2021, China's foreign trade achieved new heights in size and saw new progress in quality. We believe this is reflected in the following aspects:


First, China's foreign trade took an increased share in the international market. According to the latest statistics, in the first three quarters of 2021, China's exports accounted for 14.9% of the global market share, up 0.6 percentage point year on year and 3.9 percentage points higher than that of 2012. This increment equals the global market share of China's export in 2000. In the meantime, since China's imports accounted for over 10% of the global market share for the first time in 2013, this figure has increased steadily. The global market share of China's imports reached 12.1% in the first three quarters of 2021, up 0.5 percentage point year on year. This showcases the great achievements we have made as we enter a new era of reform and opening-up.


Second, new business forms saw even more rapid development. In 2021, the export volume in cross-border e-commerce sector increased 24.5% year on year, and its exports through market procurement trade grew 32.1%. The policies and measures China adopted to promote the healthy, sustained, and innovative development of new business forms and models of foreign trade continue to deliver effect.


Third, platforms for opening-up played a larger role. In 2021, the foreign trade of the comprehensive bonded zones across China increased 24.3%, and that of pilot free trade zones grew by 26.4%. The foreign trade of the Hainan free-trade port surged 57.7%.


Fourth, the vitality of China's market entities grew stronger. In 2021, the number of foreign trade enterprises with actual import and export business performance reached 567,000, 36,000 more than the previous year. Among them, private enterprises have contributed to 58.2% of the growth of the country's foreign trade.


Fifth, the structure of China's foreign trade was further optimized. In terms of the trade structure, the share of general trade increased by 1.6 percentage points in 2021. Nearly 60% of goods exported were electronic products. In terms of regional development, the foreign trade of China's central and western regions amounted to 6.93 trillion yuan, up 22.8%, and 1.4 percentage points higher than the growth rate of China's overall foreign trade of the same period. In terms of trading partners, China's foreign trade with major economies such as EU, the U.S., and Japan increased 17.5%, and trade with Latin America and Africa surged 31.6% and 26.3%, respectively. China and its trading partners jointly safeguarded the stability of global industrial and supply chains and propped up the world's economic recovery.


I would also like to take this opportunity to introduce the efforts being made by Chinese customs in coordinating pandemic prevention and control in port areas and facilitating the growth of foreign trade.


In 2021, despite the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, China's foreign trade made remarkable achievements and became a highlight of China's economy. While demonstrating the sector's strong resilience, this also speaks volumes about the unremitting efforts of Chinese customs.


Over the past year, customs departments across China followed the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, took firm and swift actions based on the guiding principles of General Secretary Xi Jinping's important instructions, thoroughly grasped the new features and requirements of the new stage of development, and implemented the new development philosophy in a complete, accurate, and comprehensive manner. The 14th Five-Year Plan for customs development and that for the development of port areas were introduced and implemented, embarking on a new journey toward socialist modernization in terms of customs development.


In the past year, customs authorities around the country coordinated development and security, strengthened supervision and improved services; enhanced their regulatory capacity; implemented stringent, science-based, and targeted epidemic prevention and control measures at the port; maintained a tough stance against smuggling; vigorously created a more business-friendly environment at the port; and effectively promoted the steady and quality growth of foreign trade.


Over the past year, customs authorities around the country adopted a holistic approach and actively integrated into the overall process of national development, supporting the implementation of major national strategies, including the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Yangtze Economic Belt, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Great Bay Area, and the integrated development of Yangtze River Delta. They also served the pilot free trade zones and the construction of Hainan Free Trade Port, promoted high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative through joint efforts, expanded the mutual recognition of AEOs, advanced the initiative of "Smart Customs, Smart Borders and Smart Connectivity," completed preparatory work for the RCEP implementation ahead of schedule, and promoted China to open wider at a high standard.


I will report some concrete work as follows:


First, efforts were made in epidemic prevention and control in a science-based and targeted way at points of entry and exit. Since 2021, the customs has taken resolute, rapid, and strong measures to implement science-based, targeted, and strict regulations in epidemic response and strengthened quarantine inspection at points of entry and exit.


Step one, strengthening assessment of pandemic situation. We have strictly observed the principle of early detection, reporting, quarantine and treatment, and closely monitored and assessed the pandemic situation overseas and the situations of the virus mutation, and changing prevention and control measures, on a daily basis; and required the customs at the land border crossings to implement the principle of "targeted plan for each land border crossing," and further improved and refined their working plans and emergency responses so as to strictly prevent the virus from entering the country through the land border crossings.


Step two, tightening up border quarantine. The customs tightened checks on transportation vehicles before they entered China, and took a series of checking measures for people entering the country, including taking temperatures twice, checking their Health Declaration Forms, medical screening, and sampling testing to fully intercept any potential risks brought by inbound travelers. We have also strengthened the response mechanism of joint prevention and control with relevant local departments in order to transfer all inbound travelers and to have them report the relevant information, achieving seamless and closed-loop management.


Step three, we adhered to the principle of "virus-prevention amidst people, goods, and the environment." The GACC, according to the working plan of the State Council's inter-agency task force, launched nucleic acid monitoring and testing at points of entry and preventive disinfection and supervision for imported cold-chain food and imported non-cold chain container goods from high-risk areas. They also supervised airlines to ensure they stringently disinfected their aircraft according to the requirements of the State Council's inter-agency task force.


Step four, personal protection has been strengthened. Chinese customs made efforts to implement a safety protection system and supervision system, enhanced training and assessment, and strictly regulated personal protective procedures. Rigorous closed-loop management was applied to people working in high-risk sectors. All the front-line workers at the port were covered by complete vaccination against COVID-19. The authority also accelerated the coverage of booster vaccinations, stressing that personal protective standards and measures should remain the same after the vaccination.


Second, we have spared no effort to promote the steady growth of foreign trade. In 2021, focusing on the concern of market entities, Chinese customs made concerted efforts to pursue high-level opening-up. We actively implemented all policies and measures stabilizing foreign trade and inbound investment to help maintain the momentum of steady and robust growth of imports and exports.


The first effort was to keep improving the business environment at our ports. Except for some exceptional cases, all 38 customs supervision documents involved in imports and exports can be processed at a single window. In addition, the expansion of pilot financial services through the "Single Window System" benefited more than 230,000 foreign-trade companies, consolidating the progress in reducing the customs clearance time for imports and exports. As a result, in December 2021, the average time for customs clearance was reduced to 32.97 hours for imports and 1.23 hours for exports, which was cut by 66.14% and 89.98%, respectively, compared with that in 2017.


Secondly, customs clearance costs have been effectively reduced. We have significantly brought down government-imposed transaction costs by implementing institutional innovation. In 2021, we completed business filing procedures online for 183,000 companies in a simplified and speedy manner. In addition, we have advanced the pilot reform of customs surety insurance. By the end of 2021, the bond insurance has guaranteed a total of 534.02 billion yuan in duties and tax payments by 3,775 companies, helping them reduce costs and increase efficiency.


Thirdly, we have made great efforts to develop new forms of trade. Measures to reform cross-border e-commerce B2B export supervision have been improving. Since July 1, 2021, customs authorities nationwide have applied a new supervision model to cross-border e-commerce B2B direct export and export to overseas warehouses, enabling companies to better develop the international market. We have supported the expansion of the market procurement trade pilot program and worked with related departments to evaluate new marketplaces covered by the pilot program. Up to now, a total of 31 marketplaces have been included in the market procurement trade pilot scheme.


Finally, we have actively supported the development of new pacesetters of opening-up. We have promoted the high-quality development of comprehensive bonded zones, and supported qualified regions that have demand for such zones to open new ones. In 2021, eight new comprehensive bonded zones were built. Up to now, there are 168 special customs supervision areas nationwide. In addition, we have given full play to the role of pilot free trade zones as the "testing ground." In 2021, we filed and approved preliminary trials on 25 innovative measures to help high-level opening-up. Thank you.


Xing Huina:


Thank you, Mr. Li. Today's press conference is at this moment concluded. Those news organizations that didn't get a chance to raise questions today may continue to keep in contact with us after the press conference. Thanks to friends from the media. Goodbye.

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