Publicity Department of CPC Central Committee holds press conference on the progress and reform in China's economy and ecological conservation
Beijing | 10 a.m. May 12, 2022

The Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) held a press conference in Beijing on Thursday about the progress and reform in China's economy and ecological conservation.


Han Wenxiu, deputy director in charge of routine work of the Office of the Commission for Financial and Economic Affairs of the CPC Central Committee

Hu Zucai, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission

Li Meng, vice minister of science and technology

Ye Min, vice minister of ecology and environment

Wang Shouwen, vice minister of commerce and deputy China international trade representative

Chen Yulu, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China


Shou Xiaoli, spokesperson of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee

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Han Wenxiu, deputy director in charge of routine work of the Office of the Commission for Financial and Economic Affairs of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC)

Hu Zucai, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission

Li Meng, vice minister of science and technology

Ye Min, vice minister of ecology and environment

Wang Shouwen, vice minister of commerce and deputy China international trade representative

Chen Yulu, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China (PBC)


Shou Xiaoli, spokesperson of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee


May 12, 2022

Shou Xiaoli:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Welcome to this press conference held by the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee. This is the third press conference under the theme of "China in the past decade." Today, we have invited Mr. Han Wenxiu, deputy director in charge of routine work of the Office of the Commission for Financial and Economic Affairs of the CPC Central Committee; Mr. Hu Zucai, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission; Mr. Li Meng, vice minister of science and technology; Mr. Ye Min, vice minister of ecology and environment; Mr. Wang Shouwen, vice minister of commerce and deputy China international trade representative; and Mr. Chen Yulu, deputy governor of the PBC to brief you on the progress and reform in China’s economy and ecological conservation, and to take your questions.

Now, let's give the floor to Mr. Han for his introduction.


Han Wenxiu:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. The past decade since the 18th CPC National Congress has been extraordinary in terms of the development of the Party and the country. Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, China has built a moderately prosperous society in all respects and set out on a new journey of building a modern socialist country in all respects. The new development philosophy has taken root and major milestone achievements have been made in economic and social development and ecological conservation. The most outstanding theoretical achievement in the past 10 years was the formation of Xi Jinping Thought on Economy and Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization. Specifically:

China's economic strength reached a new level in the past decade. China's gross domestic product (GDP) topped 114 trillion yuan (about $16.94 trillion) in 2021 and the country accounted for over 18% of the global economy in 2021, rising from 11.4% in 2012. China has both cemented and improved its status as the world's second-largest economy. Per capita GDP reached $12,500, close to the threshold for high-income economies. In recent years, the contribution of China's economic growth to the world economy has stood at around 30%, making it the largest engine for growth in the global economy.

China steadily advanced innovation in the past decade. We have taken innovation as the primary driving force of development. The ratio of total national R&D expenditure to GDP increased from 1.91% to 2.44%, and China's global innovation index ranking rose from 34th to 12th place. China is leading the world in the construction of high-speed railways and 5G networks, major breakthroughs have been made in such fields as manned spaceflight and the exploration of Mars, and great progress has been made in building an innovation-focused country.

China steadily advanced coordinated development in the past decade. China's urbanization rate increased from 53.1% to 64.7%, the ratio or gap of per capita disposable income between urban and rural residents decreased from 2.88:1 to 2.5:1, and the Gini coefficient dropped from 0.474 to 0.466. Solid steps were made in ensuring equal access to basic public services, and the balance, coordination and complementarity of regional development continued to increase.

China steadily advanced green development in the past decade. The change in China's ecological environment was historic, with fewer polluted days and stagnant water bodies, as well as bluer skies and more lucid waters and lush mountains. China's artificial afforestation has accounted for about a quarter of the world's total, and its CO2 emissions per unit of GDP dropped around 34%. The country has also topped the globe in installed capacity of wind and photovoltaic power and other green energy, and in the production and sales of new energy vehicles. China promoted the conclusion of the Paris Agreement, clearly announcing targets of achieving peak CO2 emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060. It has made important contributions in promoting international cooperation in addressing climate change and advancing global environmental governance.

China steadily advanced opening-up in the past decade. The breadth and depth of China's openness to the outside world constantly increased. With its share of global merchandise exports rising from 11% to 15%, China maintained its position as the world's largest trading nation in goods. We have fully implemented a pre-establishment national treatment and negative list management system for foreign investment, and the use of foreign investment continued to increase. We actively built a network of high-standard free trade zones (FTZs), and the number of free trade agreements (FTAs) signed increased from 10 to 19. We established 21 FTZs and the Hainan Free Trade Port, and created a series of new pacesetters and testing grounds, forming a new pattern of all-round and high-standard opening-up.

China solidly worked on shared development over the past decade. We brought about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty, which has plagued the Chinese nation for thousands of years. We lifted nearly 100 million rural residents out of poverty, making tremendous contributions to the global poverty reduction. We built the world's largest education system, social security system, and health care system. People's average life expectancy rose from 75.4 to 77.9 years old, the proportion of the middle-income group increased from around one-fourth to one-third, and people's standard of living and quality of life saw continuous improvement.

China solidly coordinated development and safety over the past decade. We made key progress in the critical battle against major potential risks, and forestalled systemic risks. In the past 10 years, the death toll of production safety accidents measured per unit of GDP plummeted by 83.8%. People's life and safety were better protected. China saw significant improvement in the awareness and capability of safe production. 

China constantly reformed and improved its economic and ecological conservation system over the past decade. We upheld and further improved the basic socialist economic system, under which public ownership is the mainstay and diverse forms of ownership develop together. We adhered to the distribution system under which distribution according to work is the mainstay while multiple forms of distribution exist alongside it. We upheld the socialist market economy system, fully leveraging the decisive role of the market in allocating resources and giving better play to the role of government. We also built a system for developing an ecological civilization, implemented the most rigorous ecological and environmental protection system, established and improved an ecological and environmental inspection system, as well as fully built a system that ensures effective resource utilization. All these have provided strong support to the high-quality economic growth and sustainable improvement of the ecology and environment. 

Meanwhile, we are keenly aware that China is still a developing country and is still in the primary stage of socialism. People's average income is relatively low, there is still room for improvement in our ecology and environment, and the development is still unbalanced and inadequate. Particularly, there is still a long way for China to meet its second centenary goal of building a great modern socialist country in all respects, and there is still a large gap compared with the advanced world levels. We should be resolute and calm, guard against arrogance and rashness, remain true to our original aspiration, and continue our great endeavor. We should keep economic development as our central task, fully apply the new development philosophy, accelerate the establishment of a new development paradigm, and redouble efforts for high-quality development in order to achieve sustainable development featuring advanced production, higher living standards, and better ecosystems.

Thank you.


Shou Xiaoli:

Thank you, Mr. Han, for your introduction. Now the floor is open. Please identify your media outlet before raising questions. 


Since the 18th CPC National Congress, China has been improving people's well-being to ensure that it is inclusive and meets their essential needs, and people have had a greater sense of gain. What achievements have been made in terms of promoting shared development and improving people's well-being? How should we meet people's new needs in a better way? Thank you.  

Hu Zucai:

Thank you for your questions. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has acted on the people-centered development philosophy, and on schedule, built a moderately prosperous society in all respects that reflects high standard and benefits all the Chinese people. Both the quality of people's lives and the society's shared development have seen historic and all-around improvement. The achievements can be summarized as "one historic resolution and three all-around achievements."

First, we have brought about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty in China. We declared victory in the critical battle against poverty, lifting 98.99 million rural poor people out of poverty. "Leaving no one behind" has become a signature achievement of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. Following that, we have advanced the strategy of rural vitalization to consolidate the achievements in poverty alleviation. 

Second, living standards have improved in an all-round way. An average of over 13 million urban jobs were created each year. Per capita disposable income reached over 35,000 yuan, up 80% from 2012. Its growth has outpaced economic growth. The ratio of urban income to rural income per capita dropped to 2.5:1. The middle-income group has been expanding to more than 400 million people. The Engel coefficient, reflecting social quality and consumption upgrading, indicates that Chinese people enjoy wealthy lives, according to UN standards. China's vehicle density stood at 37 vehicles per 100 households, more than double the number in 2012. The housing conditions have improved markedly. A total of 39.61 million housing units were rebuilt in rundown urban areas, benefiting over 90 million residents. Renovation of old residential areas in cities benefited 20 million households. About 180 million moved to cities from the countryside to enjoy urban living and a higher quality of life. The Chinese people enjoy colorful and enriching cultural activities. Spending on culture, tourism, fitness, and recreation has become common. Chinese people have been showing a more confident mindset.

Third, all-round public services have become universal and inclusive. Over the past 10 years, historic progress has been made in education in rural areas, border areas with mainly ethnic minority populations, old revolutionary base areas, and areas that have been lifted out of poverty. The gaps between urban and rural areas, between regions, and between schools remarkably narrowed. The availability of compulsory education in China was higher than the average level in high-income countries. The gross enrollment rate of preschool education increased significantly to 88.1%. Higher education is becoming universal. The average number of years of schooling among the working-age population rose to 10.9. The public health services system has been strengthened in all aspects. We have a better preparedness for public health emergencies. The quality and efficiency of the basic public health services that offer benefits to all the people were enhanced. The multi-tiered medical care services were improved. The planning of national medical centers was accelerated. The construction of regional medical centers at the national and provincial levels was promoted nationwide. More than 85% of county hospitals are capable of providing services of Grade B hospitals. High-quality medical resources have played a leading role in driving the medical development of their surrounding areas, improving the services of community-level medical institutions. Full life-cycle health services have improved, and life expectancy in China rose to 77.9, leading the middle- and high-income countries. The infrastructure coverage in rural areas, such as roads, electricity supplies, mail, and communications services has expanded, and its services improved. Rural living environment has improved significantly. 

Forth, an all-round and tightly woven social safety net has been built. The number of people underwriting the basic old-age insurance reached 1.03 billion, a substantial increase compared to 790 million 10 years ago. Basic pension payments for retirees and minimum basic pension benefits for rural and urban non-working residents were both steadily raised. The number of people under the basic medical insurance system reached 1.36 billion, increasing from 540 million 10 years ago. The reimbursement rate of the basic medical insurance is being raised, and per capita government subsidies for rural and non-working urban residents' basic medical insurance rose from 240 yuan to 610 yuan, benefiting 1 billion urban and rural residents. We have strengthened the social safety net to meet people's essential needs and ensured that it provides support and assistance to everyone who needs it, especially urban and rural recipients of subsistence allowances, the disadvantaged groups, and low-income households. Meanwhile, subsistence allowances have been increased in step with economic growth.

We have made historic and all-round achievements in improving people's wellbeing over the past 10 years. However, we still need to remedy deficiencies and strengthen weak links in a bid to meet the people's growing needs for a better life. In the next step, we will continue to do everything within our capacity to ensure and improve people's wellbeing, focusing on resolving the most pressing difficulties and problems that are of great concern to the people, ensuring that public services are inclusive, meet essential needs, and ensure basic living standards for people in difficulty. We will steadily advance equalized access to basic public services, increase the income of people with a medium or low income, and provide greater support to areas in need of strengthening, key areas, and the disadvantaged groups. We will strive to ensure people enjoy a better quality of life amid high-quality development, take one step at a time, and work towards common prosperity. Thank you.


Haibao News:

In 2020, the General Office of the CPC Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council issued guidelines to make systematic arrangements for building a modern environmental governance system. Is that relevant to modernizing China's system and capacity for governance? What contents are included, and what progress has been made? What efforts will be made in the next step? Thank you.

Ye Min:

Thank you for your question. The environmental governance system is an important component of the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity, and is also an important institutional guarantee for achieving the goal of a beautiful China. In 2020, the General Office of the CPC Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council issued the “Guiding Opinions on Building a Modern Environmental Governance System,” which set forth the basic contents of the modern environmental governance system for the first time.

In recent years, all regions and departments have earnestly implemented the decisions and arrangements made by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council and delivered some results. Next, I will introduce the main highlights.

First, ensure that the responsibilities of the Party and the government are properly assumed. The central and provincial governments have formulated their own lists of responsibilities for ecological and environmental protection, and the governments at all levels report annually to the people's congresses at the same level and provincial governments to the State Council on the completion of ecological and environmental goals and tasks. The CPC Central Committee evaluates the performance of the provincial Party committees and governments in the fight against pollution, and continues to strengthen the central ecological and environmental protection supervision. All provinces have also established a provincial environmental protection supervision system. These measures have effectively ensured that the Party and the government take the same responsibilities, and one post has dual responsibility.

Second, strengthen the rule of law in the ecological and environmental field. Since the advent of the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), we have formulated and amended 13 laws and 17 sets of administrative regulations on addressing air, water, and soil pollution. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress inspects law enforcement in the field of ecological environment every year, has basically completed the reform in comprehensive administrative enforcement for the law of the environment, strengthens the connection between administrative law enforcement and criminal justice, enhances punishment, and maintains a tough stance on violations.

Third, improve the market mechanism. The national carbon emission trading market launched online trading. The Yangtze River and the Yellow River have established a horizontal compensation mechanism for the ecological protection of the entire basin. We have established a national green development fund. According to statistics, green finance and taxation play a bigger role, as outstanding green credits had increased to 15.9 trillion yuan by the end of 2021.

Fourth, define the responsibilities of businesses. We have included more than 3.3 million fixed pollution sources across the country into pollutant discharge management, and released the “Comprehensive Directory of Environmental Protection (2021 version)” and the “Plan of the Reform in the Environmental Information Disclosure System” to guide low-carbon and green transformation and development of enterprises.

Fifth, promote people’s action and awareness. We have released documents to improve people’s action and awareness to protect the environment and promote a green lifestyle.

Looking into the goal of building a beautiful China by 2035, we still face the daunting task of improving the environmental governance system to reduce pollution and carbon while increasing synergy and efficiency in the battle against pollution. The next step is to further consolidate the responsibility of local ecological and environmental protection and improve the vertical management system of monitoring, supervision, and law enforcement of ecological and environmental institutions below the provincial level. Second, we will continue to strengthen corporate environmental governance responsibilities and implement the pollutant discharge permit management system in accordance with the law. Third, strengthen social supervision and continue to open more environmental protection facilities to the public. Fourth, strengthen the market system, innovate the mode of environmental governance, and stimulate the enthusiasm of market players.

Thank you.



Since the 18th CPC National Congress, China has further opened up and introduced a series of new measures for opening up. De-globalization and trade protectionism rose over the past years. How do you comment on the achievements China has made in the field of opening up over the past 10 years? Thank you. 

Wang Shouwen:

Thank you for your question. As Mr. Han just mentioned, the past 10 years were marked by solid progress in opening up. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, we have actively promoted opening up and achieved remarkable progress under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core. 

First, our endeavor in opening up has achieved historic progress. In 2012, China registered $4.4 trillion in goods and services trade, ranking second in the world. In 2021, the figure rose to $6.9 trillion, ranking first for two consecutive years. China's two-way investment also ranked among the highest in the world, as the country attracted 1.15 trillion yuan in foreign investment last year, up 62.9% from 2012. Foreign investment in China has ranked second for four years in a row since 2017. China's outbound investment has ranked among the top three in the world. We have promoted high-quality economic and trade cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.

Second, we have accelerated to advance institutional opening-up. In 2013, China released the first pilot free trade zone (FTZ) negative list for foreign investment. The number of restrictive measures on the list was reduced from 190 to 27 today. In 2016, following the trial operation in the pilot FTZ, the negative list was expanded nationwide. The number of restricted items decreased from 93 to 31 nowadays. In 2020, we implemented a foreign investment law and thus launched a new system to manage foreign investment. In 2021, we introduced the first negative list for cross-border trade in services in Hainan. In general, institutional opening-up has seen constant improvement.

Third, new ground has been broken in the construction of pilot FTZs and free trade port. Thanks to the planning, deployment and promotion by General Secretary Xi Jinping, the blueprints of building pilot FTZs and free trade port were turned into reality. Since 2013 when the first pilot FTZ was established in Shanghai, we have established 21 pilot FTZs so far, from which 278 advances in institutional innovation have been expanded nationwide. Covering less than 0.4% of China's total land area, the 21 pilot FTZs contributed 17.3% to national exports and imports and attracted 18.5% of China's total foreign investment. Since its initial construction in 2018, the Hainan Free Trade Port has released more than 120 achievements in institutional innovation.

Fourth, new breakthroughs have been made in strategies to improve China's involvement in FTZs. As Mr. Han mentioned, the number of China's free trade agreements almost doubled in the past decade, from 10 to 19. At the same time, the share of China's trade volume with free trade partners in the country's total trade volume increased from 17% to 35% in 2021. We all know that RCEP officially took effect this year, which means the world's most populous free trade zone with the largest economic and trade scale has been officially launched. Last year, General Secretary Xi Jinping announced that China would actively work to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA), which showed that China made new strides towards the goal of joining high-standard free trade agreements.

Fifth, we have made new contributions in participating in global governance. In 2014, President Xi Jinping presided over the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Beijing and promoted the conclusion of the agreement among 21 members on the Beijing Roadmap for APEC's Contribution to the Realization of the FTAAP, which drew a blueprint for building a high-level FTZ in the Asia and Pacific Region. In 2016, President Xi Jinping presided over the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, and promoted the endorsement of the G20 Guiding Principles for Global Investment Policymaking, which laid a foundation for the World Trade Organization (WTO) to launch an investment facilitation initiative in 2017. We also actively participated in WTO reforms and firmly uphold the multilateral trade regime. 

On April 21, 2022, President Xi Jinping highlighted in the opening ceremony of Boao Forum for Asia annual conference 2022 that no matter how the world would change, China's faith in and its commitment to reform and opening-up would not waver. According to the CPC Central Committee's decisions and arrangements, we will steadfastly expand high-level opening-up and push forward China's development in opening up. Thank you.



My first question is, how is the progress of green finance? What are the bottlenecks and difficulties, and how to solve them? And, some analysts expected that due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy in the second quarter would register a markedly slow growth or even a negative growth. How will macro policies respond to that? What incremental policy tools will be used? Thank you.

Chen Yulu:

Thank you for your questions. The international community has paid close attention to China's green finance development. Developing green finance is not only the requirement of implementing Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization and practicing the principle that lucid water and lush mountains are invaluable assets but also a crucial measure to realize the goals proposed by President Xi Jinping to peak carbon emissions and achieve carbon neutrality. China is a global pioneer in publicizing and championing the philosophy of green finance. So far, green finance has been demonstrating three major functions, basically formed five major pillars, and is playing a more and more important role in supporting China in its low-carbon and high-quality development.

First, China's multi-layered system for green finance products and the market has basically taken shape. By the end of 2021, China's outstanding green loans in yuan and foreign currencies have already reached nearly 16 trillion yuan, up 33% year on year, ranking first in the world. In 2021, China's domestic issuance of green bonds exceeded 600 billion yuan, a 180% year-on-year increase, and the balance reached 1.1 trillion yuan, also among the highest in the world.

Second, China has established a clear and enforceable green finance standard system in line with international standards and uniformly adopted at home. Four green finance standards of great attention at home and abroad have been officially released, namely the Green Bond Endorsed Projects Catalogue, the Guidelines for Financial Institutions on Disclosing Environment Information, Financing Instruments for Environmental Rights and Interests, and Carbon Finance Products. In addition, China and the EU have jointly rolled out the Common Ground Taxonomy for Sustainable Finance, which symbolizes that Chinese and foreign green finance standards are gradually converging.

Third, China has made important progress in the disclosure of financial institutions' environmental information. Some financial institutions in the pilot zones of green finance reform and innovation have compiled environmental information disclosure reports on a trial basis and piloted carbon accounting, accumulating experience for the nationwide promotion at a suitable time in the future.

Fourth, China has gradually improved the incentive and restraint mechanism in green finance. The carbon-reduction supporting tool and the special re-lending to support the clean and efficient use of coal set up by the People's Bank of China (PBC) have channeled more social funds into green and low-carbon sectors. At the same time, the PBC has carried out an overall evaluation of the green finance business of financial institutions in the banking sector. By including green loans and green bonds in the quantitative evaluation, it has guided financial institutions toward increasing green assets in an orderly manner.

Finally, China has deepened international cooperation in green finance. In 2021, as co-chair of the G20 Sustainable Finance Working Group, the PBC led the drafting of the G20 Sustainable Finance Roadmap and the G20 Sustainable Finance Synthesis Report, both of which have been approved. In addition, the PBC has engaged in the launch and establishment of the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System, which is becoming one of the most globally influential international cooperation platforms for green finance.

Going forward, we will make efforts to improve the top-level design of the green finance system, promote the green and low-carbon transformation of China's energy mix, industrial structure, and ways of production and living, further strengthen the disclosure of financial institutions' environmental information, carry out carbon accounting, and steadily advance climate stress tests. At the same time, we will develop carbon finance to control and reduce carbon emissions in a market-based way.

As for monetary policies in response to COVID-19, the PBC, in accordance with the decisions and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, has stepped up the implementation of prudent monetary policies to provide sufficient, targeted, and proactive support for a stable macro-economy.

First, we have cut the required reserve ratio in a proactive manner to maintain reasonably ample liquidity. Second, we have guided the prime loan rate to further decline from a relatively low level to reduce the financing cost of market entities and stimulate their financing demand. Third, we have introduced a number of new structural monetary policy tools. For example, we have set up a 200-billion-yuan re-lending for scientific and technological innovation and a 40-billion-yuan special re-lending for inclusive elderly care while giving more targeted support to weak links such as green development and small and micro-enterprises. By the end of March, the PBC had already allocated 138.6 billion yuan of carbon-reduction supporting tool funds and 22.5 billion yuan of special re-lending to support the clean and efficient use of coal, and supported financial institutions to provide qualified firms with 230.9 billion yuan and 22.5 billion yuan of loans. The balance of inclusive loans for small and micro-enterprises also continued to grow. Fourth, we have introduced 23 policies and measures to strengthen financial services and support the real economy in a timely manner so as to fully support epidemic prevention and control as well as economic and social development.

Next, the PBC will give more priority to stabilizing growth, strengthen cross-cyclical policy adjustment, accelerate the implementation of introduced policies and measures, and in particular, make active planning for incremental policy tools, continue maintaining stable total credit amount, lowering financing cost and strengthening financial support for key areas and weak links, and give further support to the real economy.

Thank you.

Han Wenxiu:

I would like to add something. We all know that the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee studied the current economic situation and economic work at a meeting not long ago. The CPC Central Committee has predicted an increase in the downward economic pressure very early on. In response to the mounting risks and challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine crisis, the CPC Central Committee unequivocally required efforts to ensure effective pandemic control, stable economic development, and secure development. To achieve success in all these respects, instead of only one, is no easy job and constitutes a major test for all localities and departments. Meticulous endeavors will be required.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a drag on economic and social development, so it is necessary to prevent and control it in a scientific, targeted, and effective way to create a fundamental prerequisite for normal economic and social operation. Economically, first of all, the policies already determined need to be put in place as early as possible. It is our aim to put all policies in place in the first half of the year. The State Council is working with relevant departments to adopt detailed policies and measures one after another to actively support industries, micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, and self-employed businesses and households hit hard by the pandemic and ensure the steady performance of the numerous market entities.

Second, additional incremental policy tools will be planned and launched. China's fiscal, monetary, and other policies have ample leeway and diverse tools available. Moreover, we have accumulated rich experience in macro regulating downward economic pressure. Based on this, we will further strengthen well-timed regulation and act promptly. 

Third, we are adept at solving development problems through reform. China boasts enormous market vitality and development potential, but they need to be unleashed. We will continue to deepen reform, expand opening-up, and invigorate the economy steadfastly to provide the strong driving force for development.

Another priority is to fully tap into the potential of domestic demand. The Central Commission for Financial and Economic Affairs stressed in a recent meeting that infrastructure development will be strengthened comprehensively to give play to the key role of effective investment. The meeting also highlighted the leveraging role of consumption in economic circulation. Relevant departments are implementing new policies and measures in this regard to chart the route for ensuing efforts.  

To sum up, it is important to take a long-term perspective to look at things. The Chinese economy is now experiencing another uphill battle which is crucial, but what face us are still problems and troubles emerging in the course of development. As long as we remain confident and face difficulties head-on, we will surely be able to turn challenges into opportunities and bring things around. This is the basic logic of China's economic development.

Thank you.


Science and Technology Daily:

Now, innovations in such cutting-edge technologies as quantum technology, artificial intelligence, and space exploration are becoming increasingly known to the general public, and science and technology are now being closely related to the life and work of everyone. Would you like to share with us China's achievements in scientific and technological innovation made since the 18th CPC National Congress? What role have science and technology played in promoting high-quality economic development and improving the people's living standards? Thank you.

Li Meng:

Thank you. You've raised a very good question. The fields you mentioned in your question are all at the cutting-edge of global science and technology. They are the highlights of China's scientific and technological development, and epitomize the major achievements of China in scientific and technological innovation made under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping has attached great importance to scientific and technological innovation. Listing innovative development as the first of the Five Concepts for Development, he made strategic and big-picture plans for scientific and technological innovation in China, and put forward a series of fundamental and far-reaching strategies.

From "innovation is the primary driving force behind development," "fully implement an innovation-driven development strategy," "innovation should be placed at the center of China's development strategy," to "strengthen science and technology to provide strategic support for China's development," China is blazing an increasingly wider path for independent innovation with its own characteristics.

In the decade since the 18th CPC National Congress, China saw its biggest progress in science and technology and its fastest rise in scientific and technological strength of any decade in its history. The changes in China's scientific and technological development during this decade were historic and holistic and reshaped the landscape. In this period, China became a country of innovators, fully integrated into the global innovation network, and displayed an innovation layout and development trend characteristic of the new era. 

Mr. Han just mentioned China's R&D expenditure. In 2021, the country's total spending on R&D was 2.7 times higher than that of 2012, and its spending on basic research was 3.4 times higher than that of 2012. Over the past ten years, China's ranking in the Global Innovation Index jumped 22 places, making it the only country that saw its ranking rising rapidly and steadily. 

Over the past 10 years, China's science and technology have seen all-around development with distinct features and improved quality, becoming the primary driving force to promote the country's high-quality development and improve people's living standards.

Both scientific research and academic disciplines have seen substantial improvements. Some disciplines have gained leading positions in the world; the R&D capacity of research institutions, universities, and leading sci-tech enterprises has improved remarkably. Ten years ago, China had less than 50,000 new-and high-tech enterprises. Today, the number is 330,000. In the global "science and technology (S&T) clusters" ranking, Beijing, Shanghai, and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, which are international S&T innovation centers, all made the top 10. 

A slew of world-class achievements have been made in basic research and strategic high tech. As evidenced by the Tianwen-1 Mars mission, the Chang'e-5 lunar mission, as well as the Shenzhou-13 crewed spaceship successfully docking with space station core module Tianhe, China has made great strides in deep space exploration. Deep-sea manned submersibles Shenhai Yongshi (Deep Sea Warrior) and Fendouzhe (Striver), and unmanned submersible Haidou-1 have been successfully developed, which means China has acquired the technology for a submersible to dive to more than 10,000 meters below sea level. China has become the world's only country to reach a "quantum supremacy" milestone in two mainstream technical routes - one via photonics quantum computing technology and the other via superconducting quantum computing technology.

A number of advanced equipment and systems developed independently by China have been put into use, boosting the country's industrial upgrading. As Mr. Han said just now, technologies such as supercomputing, high-speed rail, smart grid, fourth-generation nuclear reactor, and ultra-high voltage transmission technology have taken the lead in the world. In particular, 5G development and application have been intensified, and an AI ecosystem with Chinese characteristics has come into being, empowering various industries at a faster pace. Underpinned by greater computing power and supercomputing, the digital economy is thriving, with a raft of smart cities, smart factories, smart healthcare networks, and smart transportation systems emerging.

As General Secretary Xi Jinping said, scientific and technological development must target the global science frontiers, serve the main economic battlefield, strive to fulfill the significant needs of the country, and benefit people's lives and health. The role of scientific and technological development in serving people's lives and health has been highlighted. Over the past ten years, the number of new drugs developed by China has risen considerably. Multiple COVID vaccines, antigen test kits and treatment medicines have supported the country's COVID response. Not long ago, the International Organization for Standardization released the first international standards for COVID-19 nucleic acid testing, which China has spearheaded the efforts to formulate. China has successfully fought a battle against COVID-19 with the support of science and technology.

A large batch of technicians has played an important role in poverty relief and rural vitalization. More than 200 sci-tech developments were used to help present a high-quality Beijing Winter Olympics.

At the same time, we are keenly aware that compared to the world's leading countries, China still has a long way to go in terms of sci-tech innovation. We will, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee, face problems and difficulties head-on and work tirelessly to build China into a global sci-tech powerhouse. Thank you!



Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee has strengthened its leadership over economic affairs. What major measures have been taken in this regard? What principles have been gained in the process? Thanks.

Han Wenxiu:

As we know, the economy is the bedrock of the country. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has strengthened its leadership over economic affairs. We have seen various new measures, new experience, and new features.

First, the CPC Central Committee has strengthened the Party's ability and resolve to chart the course, craft overall plans, design policies, and promote reform. The CPC Central Committee Political Bureau and its Standing Committee often convene sessions to study economic affairs, and make decisions on vital issues through major institutional arrangements such as the Central Economic Work Conference and the Central Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs in order to design economic development and reform on an overall basis, coordinate efforts to push forward reforms as a whole and supervise the implementation of reform plans.

Second, the CPC Central Committee has stressed the implementation of the new development philosophy for high-quality development. It pointed out that the country's economy has shifted from high-speed growth to high-quality development. We must apply the new development philosophy in a full, accurate and comprehensive manner, and strive to promote innovative, coordinated, green, open, and shared development. Any practice that does not conform to the new development philosophy must be resolutely corrected, and all measures which are conducive to high-quality development must be strongly supported.

Third, the CPC Central Committee has remained committed to the people-centered philosophy of development. It sticks to the notion that development is for the people, by the people, and its fruits should be shared among the people. It pointed out that we should make utmost and persistent efforts within our capacity to continuously improve people's sense of gain, happiness, and security. It also specially underlined that we should pool the efforts of everyone to gradually achieve common prosperity, oppose welfarism, and not rob the rich to aid the poor.

Fourth, the CPC Central Committee has stressed advancing supply-side structural reform as the main task. We should give priority to solving the structural problems on the supply side as the essential solution to the great challenges facing our economy. Efforts should be made to build a modern economic system, with a focus on improving the quality and efficiency of the supply system. It is also important to fully implement the strategy of expanding domestic demand to create a dynamic equilibrium between supply and demand at a higher level.

Fifth, the CPC Central Committee has stressed the importance of accelerating the establishment of a new development paradigm. In the face of a complex situation arising from the combined impacts of major changes and a pandemic, both unseen in a century, it is important to coordinate development and security. We should consolidate the domestic circulation; strengthen high-level self-reliance in science and technology; safeguard security of food, energy and resources, and industrial and supply chains; build a strong and resilient national economic circulation system. At the same time, we should fully leverage the demand of our super-sized domestic market, expand high-level opening up, promote positive interplay between domestic circulation and international circulation, and achieve mutual benefit, win-win results, and common development through opening up and cooperation.

Sixth, the CPC Central Committee has stayed true to the principle that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets. It incorporated the building of an ecological civilization into the Five-sphere Integrated Plan, and takes green and low-carbon development as an inherent requirement of, and a conscious action for, high-quality development. China has actively participated in global climate and environmental governance, living up to its responsibilities as a major country.

Last but not least, the CPC Central Committee has stressed acting on the general principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability. We should pursue stable performance and be proactive in making new progress, avoid the unrealistic pursuit of quick results, oppose pointless formalities, and focus on implementation with a spirit of perseverance. We should increase our awareness of potential dangers, remain mindful of worst-case scenarios, strengthen strategic prepositioning, attach importance to the guiding role of planning, and enhance guidance over expectations so that we can improve preparedness for market changes and potential risks to ensure stable and long-term economic development. 

Thank you.


21st Century Business Herald: 

The 19th CPC National Congress called for moves to forestall and defuse major risks as one of the three tough battles. What progress has been made in forestalling and defusing major financial risks, and what will be done next? Thank you.

Chen Yulu: 

Thank you for your questions. Mr. Han just mentioned that the past decade is one in which our country has substantially coordinated development and security. The CPC Central Committee has attached great importance to forestalling and defusing major financial risks. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping has made a series of important arrangements for preventing and defusing major financial risks from the strategic perspective of the overall economic and social development. The 19th CPC National Congress urged efforts to prevent and defuse major risks. Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, and guided by the Financial Stability and Development Committee under the State Council, the People's Bank of China worked together with relevant departments and local governments to make all-out efforts to prevent and defuse financial risks in line with the fundamental principles of "maintaining overall stability, ensuring coordination, implementing category-based policies, and defusing risks through targeted efforts." Through concentrated efforts, the risk points accumulated over a long period of time in the country's financial system have been effectively dealt with, and overall financial risks have been reduced and generally controllable. Following are several important signs.

First, the financial system has effectively supported the overall macroeconomic stability. Focusing on stabilizing economic growth, stabilizing commodity prices, promoting employment stability, and stabilizing the international balance of payment, we adopted a prudent monetary policy, implemented the monetary policy in a scientific manner, introduced a number of structural monetary policy tools, ensured the market plays the decisive role in setting the exchange rate of RMB, ensured the foreign exchange reserve generally remains stable, to create a favorable monetary and financial environment for increasing support and effective services for the real economy.

Second, our country's financial system has remained generally stable. The resilience of financial institutions' operations and their anti-risk ability have improved significantly. For example, by the end of 2021, the proportion of assets of our country's commercial banks within the safe boundary is 98.9%. Among them, the rating of 24 large commercial banks have been good, and some banks are leading the international level in terms of key operating indicators, playing a key role in consolidating the foundation of the financial system. China's A-share market has withstood multi-round, multi-factor tests of external shocks, and the bond market has broken down rigid payments in an orderly manner with its overall smooth operation. 

Third, the financial risks of key institutions and in key areas have been steadily defused. In accordance with the principle of marketization and the rule of law, we have defused the risks of key high-risk enterprises and groups and financial institutions through targeted efforts, and the number of high-risk medium and small financial institutions has fallen sharply. Meanwhile, we have also comprehensively overhauled and rectified the financial order. The chaos of shadow banking, which was of great concern to the public, has been effectively remedied. Nearly 5,000 P2P online lending institutions have been closed; a campaign to address risks related to internet finance was completed; 25,000 cases of illegal fundraising were filed and investigated, and all financial services of internet platform enterprises were brought under supervision. We have implemented the system for prudential financial regulation for the real estate sector in a prudent and orderly manner, and the tendency of financialization and bubbles in the property market have been effectively contained. Meanwhile, hidden debt risks of local governments have been defused prudently.

Fourth, progress has been made in establishing a long-term mechanism for risk prevention and control. We improved the financial legal system, advanced the coordinated financial regulation between the central government and local governments, and established a system of macroprudential management and deposit insurance system. Meanwhile, we resolutely punished corruption behind financial risks, dereliction of duty in the supervision and criminal offenses. 

Preventing and defusing financial risks is the eternal theme of financial work. Next, the PBC will attach equal importance to risk prevention and defusing and the building of long-term mechanisms; attach equal importance to financial risk response and anti-corruption, recovering illicit assets and retrieving losses; attach equal importance to improving the effectiveness of regulation and reform, innovation, and development; continue to do a good job in preventing and defusing risks; and forestall systemic risks. Thank you.


Guangming Daily:

General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed to let the R&D funds serve creative activities. How can research institutions and researchers be freed from cumbersome and unnecessary institutional constraints? What substantial and resolute efforts have been made in this regard? Can you brief us on the specific progress of reforming the science and technology management system? Thank you. 

Li Meng:

Thanks for your questions. These problems were reported frequently by researchers in the previous years, which are key tasks of the reform of the science and technology management system. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping has made the reform of the science and technology management system a priority of deepening overall reform from the very beginning, and assumed leadership, and made plans personally. Many major issues concerning reforming the science and technology management system have been proposed by the general secretary himself. 

The Central Commission for Comprehensively Deepening Reform has reviewed over 20 major reform initiatives regarding science and technology. By far, 143 tasks in the Implementation Plan for Deepening Reform of Science and Technology System have been completed, and an institutional and fundamental framework supporting comprehensive innovation has taken shape. Substantial progress has been made in reforms in key areas and links. Breakthroughs have been made in tackling key and difficult issues as well as bottlenecks that have long been unsolved. China has, for the first time, established the National Advisory Committee for Science and Technology and the National Science and Technology Ethics Committee. The national planning for the development of science and technology has been reconstructed, resolving the problem of allocating scientific and technological resources in a closed and fragmented way, thus making the governance mechanisms more adaptable for scientific and technological development. China has developed national laboratories and launched the restructuring of the system of key national laboratories. Institutions of higher learning and research institutes have been granted greater autonomy. The principal position of enterprises in innovation has been primarily established. Strategic science and technology capabilities have been further strengthened. All of these measures have contributed to creating a powerful synergy for promoting scientific and technological innovation.

Concerning your question on implementing General Secretary Xi Jinping's direction that let the R&D funds serve creative activities, a series of reforms have been carried out ever since, including adopting profit distribution policies oriented toward increasing the value of knowledge, building up the trust-based management system for science and technology programs and funding for scientific and technological research, establishing a quality, performance, contribution-oriented evaluation approach, providing stronger incentives for researchers. Systematic steps have been taken to reform mechanisms of program assessment, personnel assessment, and institution evaluation. Many localities and organizations have explored roadmaps for category-based assessment.  

Following the laws of scientific exploration and technological innovation, we have introduced an open competition mechanism to select the best candidates to lead key research projects, implemented the system of chief scientists assuming responsibility for research programs in frontier areas, and set up revolutionary technology projects so as to encourage scientists to make bold explorations. We have also set up young scientists programs in the National Key R&D Programs during the 14th Five-Year Plan period, enabling more young scientists to take the leading role in programs, which has won wide popularity. In addition, scientists have been granted greater power to make decisions on technology roadmaps and to dispose of the funding so as to, as you have mentioned, release science researchers from the burdensome and unnecessarily institutional fetters.

The difficulties in the application of scientific and technological achievements have long been reflected and have not been solved very well. In recent years, one of the major goals of reform of science and technology system is to accelerate the establishment of the system for the transfer and commercialization of advances in science and technology, building smooth paths among science and technology, industry, and finance. For that purpose, rewards have been increased by a considerable sum to science researchers for the transfer and commercialization of advances in science and technology. And the right to use, transfer, and profit from their scientific and technological advances has been fully delegated. Trials have also been carried out to give science researchers the ownership and long-term right to use their scientific and technological advances.

Preferential policies and institutional arrangements have been implemented to encourage innovation among enterprises. The additional tax deductions for R&D expenses increased from 50% in 2012 to 75% in 2018, and now cover 100% of small and medium sci-tech enterprises and manufacturing enterprises, demonstrating support for small and medium sci-tech enterprises. At present, over three-fourths of the total R&D investment in China comes from enterprises, and 79% of the National Key R&D Programs are initiated or participated by enterprises.

The market for trade in technology has been expanded. The level of activity of the market for trade in technology reflects that of the transfer and commercialization of advances in science and technology. Last year, the technology contract turnover reached 3.7 trillion yuan, well exceeding the total R&D investment in China in 2021 and 5.8 times the turnover in 2012, suggesting rapid growth.

In the capital market, the Science and Technology Innovation Board (or STAR Market) has been established, the Growth Enterprise Market (GEM) Board has been reformed, and the Beijing Stock Exchange has been set up. Channels for direct listing and financing for core technology enterprises have been opened up. Technology, industry, and finance are shaping each other and forming a virtuous circle. In the past, there was a disconnect between technology and the economy, but now, thanks to the involvement and increased role of financial and capital markets, a synergy is created between technology and economy.

In order to achieve high-level self-reliance in science and technology, China will eventually depend on high-level innovative talents. In the next step, we will follow the deployment of the CPC Central Committee, focus on implementing a three-year action plan for reforming the science and technology management system, and pay close attention to the implementation. We will also stimulate the innovation of talents and provide opportunities to more researchers with real talent and knowledge. Thank you.


Cover News:

In recent years, illegal discharge and excessive discharge of pollutants have occurred from time to time. The Ministry of Ecology and Environment made public a number of typical cases related to unlicensed emissions. What other arrangements will the Ministry of Ecology and Environment make to fully implement the pollutant emission permit system and build a system to regulate stationary pollution sources with the pollutant emission permit as the core? Thank you.

Ye Min:

Thank you for your concern about the pollutant emission permit system. A while ago, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment brought out a number of typical cases of emission permit violations. The purpose was to lead enterprises to abide by the law and guide law enforcement at the grassroots level, which has received a positive response from society. The pollutant emission permit system is an important component of the national environmental governance system. In recent years, guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment firmly implemented the decisions and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council and continued to promote reforms of the emission permits. The work can be summarized in the following aspects:

First, system establishment. The pollutant emission permit system has been incorporated into a number of laws on air, water, soil, solids, and noise. China has issued the regulations on the administration of pollutant emission permits, formulated a catalog for systematic management, and established 76 technical specifications for pollutant emission permits and 45 guidelines for self-monitoring.

Second, full coverage. More than 3.3 million stationary pollution sources in China have all been included in the management of the pollutant emission permit system. Among these sources, over 350,000 pollutant emission permits have been issued, more than 2.94 million permits have been registered, and over 6,000 notices have been issued for rectification within a certain time. These have covered all pollutant emission permits under environmental supervision.

Third, system integration. For over 40 industries with low emission levels, we have combined the work for environmental impact assessment registration and pollutant emission permit registration. This reduced the burden on enterprises. We have worked with tax authorities to harmonize the calculation methods of pollutant emissions for environmental protection taxes. And we have steadily aligned pollutant emission permit system with environmental monitoring, statistics, and other systems.

Fourth, strict supervision. In 2021, more than 3,500 pollutant permit cases were investigated and dealt with, and over 300 million yuan in penalties were handed out. Authorities at central and local levels have continued to make public typical cases of violations, which has had a deterrent effect. Furthermore, we have carried out tasks for improving the quality of the emission permits and for increasing the submission rate of implementation reports.

Fifth, good services. We have established a unified national information platform for the management of pollutant emission permits of stationary pollution sources. We have also introduced standards for the electronic copy of the emission permits so that all applications, including inter-provincial ones, can be conducted online throughout the entire progress.

As the next step, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment will take the pollutant emission permit system as a core, align various environmental management systems for stationary pollution sources, and implement the Guidance on Strengthening the Law Enforcement and Supervision of Pollutant Emission Permits. We will comprehensively promote the one-certificate management and strive to build a new law enforcement pattern in which enterprises could be licensed to discharge pollutants, supervised by the government in accordance with the law, and jointly monitored by the society. At the same time, it is necessary to strengthen publicity, training, and guidance and improve the awareness and ability to know and abiding by the law for the pollutant discharge units so that the supervision is powerful but considerate.



We have noticed that the carbon peaking and carbon neutrality work has been incorporated into the overall plans for building an ecological civilization. What progress has been made toward this goal, and how will the work be carried out going forward? Thank you.

Hu Zucai:

Thank you for your questions. Achieving the goals of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality is a significant strategic decision made by the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core. This shows that China's building of an ecological civilization has entered a critical phase with carbon reduction as the key strategic direction, which is of great and far-reaching significance for promoting green and low-carbon transformation and facilitating high-quality development.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization, historic achievements have been made in green and low-carbon transformation and development, and this is one area in which people feel the greatest sense of gain. This is reflected in the following three main aspects:

First, significant progress has been made in the green and low-carbon transformation of energy. The installed capacity of renewable energy in China has exceeded 1 billion kilowatts, and the installed capacities of hydro, wind, solar and biomass power each rank first in the world. The proportion of clean energy consumption increased from 14.5% to 25.5% of all energy consumption. Remarkable results have been achieved in the clean and efficient utilization of coal, and the capacity of coal power ultra-low emission units has exceeded 1 billion kilowatts, leading the world in terms of energy efficiency and emission levels.

Second, remarkable achievements have been made in saving energy and reducing emissions. China supports an average annual economic growth of 6.5% with an average annual energy consumption growth rate of 3%. Energy consumption intensity decreased by 26.2%, which is equivalent to a reduction of 1.4 billion tons of standard coal being used and 2.94 billion tons less of CO2 emissions. The reduction in CO2 emission intensity per unit of GDP exceeded the target of China's Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC).

Third, the concept of "lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets" is deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. More people are choosing to adopt simple, moderate, green, low-carbon, civilized and healthy lifestyles.

Since the goals of achieving a carbon peak and carbon neutrality were proposed in 2020, under the personal planning, deployment and promotion by General Secretary Xi Jinping, the top-level design of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality has been completed, the "1+N" policy framework has been basically established, and the carbon peaking and carbon neutrality work has progressed in a steady and orderly manner, achieving a good start. At present and going forward, the focus of our work will be in the following five areas:

First, we need to strengthen overall planning and coordination. We must continue to improve the "1+N" policy framework for carbon peaking and carbon neutrality. Numerous supporting policy documents involving multiple industries and fields are being released at an accelerated pace. We must organize and implement the 10 major actions for carbon peaking and establish a unified and standardized carbon emission statistical and accounting system.

Second, we will vigorously promote the energy revolution. We will vigorously develop new energy sources, planning and building 450 million kilowatts of large-scale wind power and photovoltaic bases in sandy areas, rocky areas and deserts. The construction of projects totaling 85 million kilowatts have already started. The second batch of projects is stepping up preliminary work to accelerate the construction of a new energy supply and consumption system. To improve the level of clean and efficient utilization of coal, all coal-fired power plants with coal consumption exceeding 300 g/kWh for power supply should be upgraded. What needs to be emphasized here is that the basic national situation in China is of an abundance of coal, but a lack of oil and gas. The gradual withdrawal of traditional energy must be based on the safe and reliable replacement with new energy. We must insist on establishing replacements before getting rid of traditional energy in order to achieve safe carbon reduction.

Third, we will vigorously promote green and low-carbon transformation and development of industries. We must quickly promote the transformation of key industries to meet energy efficiency standards, accelerate the research and development and promotion of advanced and applicable technologies, actively develop green finance, and regulate development of the carbon market. We will resolutely curb the blind development of high-energy-consuming, high-emission and low-grade projects.

Fourth, we must vigorously advocate green ways of living. We will guide green and low-carbon consumption, advocate green travel, carry out green and low-carbon social activities, and make green lifestyles a new trend in society.

Fifth, we will actively participate in global climate governance. We will carry out multilateral and bilateral dialogues, exchanges and pragmatic cooperation to promote the establishment of a fair, reasonable, cooperative and win-win global environmental governance system.

To reach the dual targets of peaking carbon emissions by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060 entails a broad, profound, and systematic economic and social transformation, which is no easy task. We must fully, accurately, and comprehensively implement the new development philosophy. We need to follow the decisions and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee, maintain strategic focus, and remain committed to the dual carbon goals. In this process, we will not just talk the talk or pursue quick success; instead, we will make pragmatic and sustained efforts for steady, effective, and efficient progress.

Thank you.


Shou Xiaoli:

The last question, please.


The FTZs and FTAs are important to China's opening-up. What are the new features of China's opening-up in light of the recent FTAs negotiation and development? What benefits do they bring to foreign enterprises? What is the next plan? Thank you.

Wang Shouwen:

Thank you for your questions. As I said just now, the number of FTAs signed by China has nearly doubled in the past decade. In addition, the FTAs have demonstrated many attributes of China's opening-up. Here I would like to highlight two aspects:

First, in terms of trade in goods, tariff levels are lower, and customs clearance is more efficient. Since 2012, China has signed nine new FTAs with countries including Switzerland, South Korea, and Australia. In most of the agreements, the proportion of goods with zero tariffs has reached over 90%, and some agreements have seen it at 97%. In other words, enterprises in China and those in countries which signed FTAs with China can import most of the products at a lower cost without paying import tariffs. When they export to partner countries, they basically do not need to pay import tariffs in those countries either. It can be said that the businesses are enjoying huge benefits.

Speaking of customs clearance efficiency, it took about four days for China's imported goods to go through customs in 2017, but now it only takes less than one and a half days. In 2017, it took about 12 hours to complete customs clearance for goods exported from China, and now it just takes about 1.2 hours.

Second, in terms of trade in services and investment, the market access has been expanded, and opening-up has been intensified. For example, for trade in services, we have promised to open up 22 more sectors in the recent RCEP free trade agreement, compared with the 100 sectors we promised when we joined the WTO. Of the sectors that have already been opened up in line with our commitments to WTO accession, we have pledged to open 37 sectors wider in the RCEP. As for the investment, we have made a negative list and promised higher-level opening-up in manufacturing, agriculture, and mining, among other sectors.

You asked what benefits these opening-up measures have brought to foreign-invested enterprises. Well, we summarized that China's opening-up has expanded the opportunities for foreign-funded companies and other foreign companies to enter China's market, as well as the opportunities for domestic and foreign companies in China to enter the markets of FTAs partners. More importantly, the foreign-invested enterprises have gained more investment chances, as some sectors were once forbidden or restricted to foreign investment while more sectors are now open to foreign investors. Furthermore, the signing of the FTAs has improved China's market-oriented, law-based, and internationalized business environment, creating more opportunities for foreign businesses. Therefore, we hope foreign enterprises can seize these opportunities and secure better development in China.

General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that China would implement the strategy of upgrading FTZs and build a global network of high-standard FTZs. Looking ahead, we will continue to actively work for joining the CPTPP and DEPA as requested by the CPC Central Committee. At the same time, we will further advance negotiations on China-Japan-ROK Free Trade Agreement and free trade agreements with the Gulf Cooperation Council, Israel, and Ecuador.

We believe that as China wins more free trade friends, the dividends of its further opening-up will benefit more and more Chinese and foreign enterprises. Thank you.

Shou Xiaoli:

Thank you to all six speakers and friends from the media. Today's briefing is now concluded. Goodbye.

Translated and edited by Huang Shan, Ma Yujia, He Shan, Liu Sitong, Zhang Jiaqi, Zhang Rui, Liu Qiang, Zhang Junmian, Yang Xi, Xu Kailin, Li Huiru, Yan Xiaoqing, Wang Yiming, Zhou Jing, Xu Xiaoxuan, Wang Yanfang, Yuan Fang, Wang Qian, Liu Jianing, Zhang Lulu, David Ball and Tom Arnstein. In case of any discrepancy between the English and Chinese texts, the Chinese version is deemed to prevail.

/8    Shou Xiaoli

/8    Han Wenxiu

/8    Hu Zucai

/8    Li Meng

/8    Ye Min

/8    Wang Shouwen

/8    Chen Yulu

/8    Group photo

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