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Wang Wentao: Consolidate the basics of foreign trade and foreign investment, have confidence and confidence

"We are confident and confident in consolidating the fundamentals of foreign trade and foreign investment." On March 6, Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao answered questions from Chinese and foreign journalists on issues related to the business field at the economic press conference of the Second Session of the 14th National People's Congress. Shi concluded that overall, the industrial foundation, factor endowments, and innovation capabilities that foreign trade development relies on are constantly increasing. Export commodities are moving up the value chain. Moreover, we are proactively opening up, and the import market opportunities are also expanding. Both import and export have There is great potential, and foreign trade has shown strong resilience.

Wang Wentao analyzed that the situation faced by foreign trade this year is very severe. On the one hand, many international organizations predict that global economic growth will still be lower than the historical average in 2024, and there will still be great pressure from declining external demand. On the other hand, trade protectionism and unilateralism are on the rise. An International Monetary Fund report shows that about 3,000 trade restrictive measures were implemented globally in 2023, much higher than the 1,100 in 2019. The WTO predicts that global trade in goods will grow by 3.3% this year, which is far lower than the historical average of 4.9% in previous years. In addition, spillover factors such as geopolitical conflicts and the global "super election year" will also bring a lot of uncertainty.

"While we see difficulties, we also see some good signs." Wang Wentao said that in the first two months of this year, we saw many positive trends. Imports and exports from January to February are expected to continue the growth since October last year. trend. The base number in March last year was relatively high. We predict that the import and export data in March this year may fall somewhat, but the overall trend is upward.

Talking about the positive trend in the field of foreign trade, Wang Wentao gave an example. The small peak of import and export that appeared before the Spring Festival in previous years has continued until the Spring Festival this year. Some China-Europe trains, ocean freighters, cross-border e-commerce and overseas warehouses are still busy; many Companies go abroad to participate in exhibitions and expand markets. For example, some companies that are participating in the World Lighting Fair in Frankfurt have many customers at their booths. They are very confident and say that their orders this year are not bad. Export orders for key products such as home appliances and automobiles were better than expected.

At the same time, Wang Wentao said that demand is also soft in some areas, such as mobile phones, toys, shoes, etc. In addition, the "three new items" exports will grow by nearly 30% in 2023. According to general economic laws, it is difficult to maintain rapid development on the basis of 30%. It is expected that it may show a trend of steady development.

"In response to the difficulties and uncertainties faced by foreign trade, we have taken the lead in policy development and made predictions at the end of last year." Wang Wentao said, "Spring comes early for people who work hard." We have made sufficient preparations in advance and gone all out to stabilize the situation. foreign trade. Specifically, support will be increased mainly from three aspects: First, in terms of financial services, financial service guarantees for foreign trade enterprises, especially small, medium and micro enterprises, will be further strengthened to achieve lead time. Second, in terms of trade promotion, we will continue to successfully organize exhibitions such as the Canton Fair, China International Import Expo, Trade in Services Fair, Consumer Expo, and Digital Trade Fair, release trade promotion information and country-specific trade guides, and encourage enterprises to participate in various domestic and overseas trade fairs. Exhibition. Third, in terms of personnel exchanges, flights between China and foreign countries have been further restored recently, and we will continue to promote it with relevant departments to promote the convenience of visa applications for business personnel and support enterprises in trade promotion and supply and procurement docking.

Wang Wentao further stated that in the medium to long term, in accordance with the deployment of the Central Economic Work Conference and the Government Work Report, the key is to cultivate new momentum for foreign trade and promote high-quality development of foreign trade. The Ministry of Commerce will focus on four aspects: First, expand trade in intermediate goods. We will deepen industry and supply chain cooperation with willing global trading partners to build an inclusive, resilient, and sustainable industrial and supply chain. The second is to promote cross-border e-commerce exports. Policies such as customs clearance, taxation, and foreign exchange will be improved, and the construction of a supply chain and ecosystem adapted to the development of cross-border e-commerce will be accelerated. The third is to improve the level of trade digitalization. We will use the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Global Trade Digital Pilot Zone, Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone, and Foreign Trade Transformation and Upgrading Base as carriers to enhance the level of trade digitalization. Accelerate the digitization of international trade documents, build consensus on cooperation in multilateral and bilateral fields, and explore cooperation paths. The fourth is to promote the green development of trade. The trade of green and low-carbon products with high quality, high technology and high added value will be supported. Build a public service platform for green trade development to help foreign trade companies accelerate green and low-carbon transformation and improve the green development level of the foreign trade industry chain and supply chain.