At a Mar. 11 press conference for the First Session of the 13th National People’s Congress in Beijing, the Ministry of Commerce announced that it would protect Chinese imports and exports, but did not want to instigate a trade war. Chinese Minister of Commerce Shan Zhong, stated, “Although China has become a big country with economy and trade, we are still ‘big but not strong’. To become a strong country with a strong economy and trade, we must adhere to innovation and develop high-quality products.”
To achieve strength in economy and trade, the Ministry of Commerce has created a three-step process, stating that 2050 is the year it will reach its end goal.
China wants to avoid a trade war
Facing the growing divergences of the United States and its own trade policy, Shan Zhong spoke to the possibility of a trade war saying that “there would be no winner in such a war”. He further emphasized that China did not want to initiate such an economic blockade, however, the interest of China and its people would be resolutely defended.
Addressing the Sino-American Trade Deficit, Shan Zhong refuted statistics, stating that the US overestimates the trade surplus by roughly 20% each year. He elaborated on an often-cited point, that China’s trade surplus with the US is in manufactured goods, while the US trade surplus with China is in services.
Rational investment abroad
According to the World Bank, last year, China ranked second in the world for absorbing foreign capital. It also showed that the ease of doing business index in China is not worsening, but getting better. China is still a popular country for foreign investment.
To further promote the development of the One Belt One Road policy, the ministry of commerce is planning the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) – a series of projects to demonstrate the benefits of Chinese foreign investment in other countries. The government hopes to further develop the silk road of e-commerce encouraging companies to roll out services such as big data, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence.
Chinese people spend about US$200 billion on overseas shopping each year. This includes both luxury and consumer goods. Shan Zhong stated that consumer habits reflect the lack of quality manufactured goods in China for reasonable prices. China continues to be disadvantaged in the domestic economy, pension, education and medical services. In the future, the ministry of commerce will greatly ease market access, cut import tariffs on cars and some consumer goods, and expand services in various areas, including telecom, medical treatment, education, and pension.