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State Council Inter-agency Task Force Gives Press Briefing

2020/03/14

The State Council inter-agency task force on COVID-19 outbreak gave a press briefing on 13 March to introduce the work related to stabilizing foreign trade and investment amid the epidemic.

On foreign trade, Li Xingqian, Director-General of the Department of Foreign Trade of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), said that due to the impact of the epidemic, import and export dropped by 9.6 percent in the first two months, totaling 4.12 trillion yuan, with export down by a double digit. The policies for stabilizing foreign trade adopted by the government are producing results. Key foreign trade companies in places such as Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shanghai have all resumed work.

On foreign investment, Zong Changqing, Director-General of MOFCOM's Department of Foreign Investment Administration, noted three positive signs in the first two months:

First, paid-in foreign investment in the hi-tech sector reached 41.52 billion yuan, a 2.2 percent increase year-on-year, with pharmaceutical manufacturing, medical equipment and measuring instrument manufacturing, information service and e-commerce going up by 6.7 percent, 139.7 percent, 30.5 percent and 449.8 percent respectively. Second, FDI inflow increased by 13 percent and 12.8 percent respectively in Shanghai and Guangdong pilot free trade zones, and 230.2 percent, 149.5 percent and 140 percent respectively in Hainan, Fujian and Zhejiang pilot free trade zones. Third, inbound investment from Belt and Road participating countries and ASEAN increased by 9.7 percent and 15.1 percent respectively.

According to Zong, as of 12 March, among the 10,000 key foreign-invested companies monitored by MOFCOM, the proportion of companies with a 70 percent plus business resumption rate in places other than Hubei reached 60 percent in the manufacturing sector and over 40 percent in the service sector.

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