tv [untitled] March 15, 2012 11:30am-12:00pm EDT
play a major role in china's national economy. so when it comes to reform, i think opening up is our priority, and china as a member of the wto ten years later needs to be more tolerant at the open. so opening up, further opening up, will are used a a means to promotes reform and innovation. only by presenting our own businesses, chinese companies, in front of the global population, in the global marketplace to compete there on a fair basis can chinese companies grow more competitive. thank you. next question? >> translator: the lady in the second row. [ speaking in foreign language ]
>> minister, could you please share with us some information concerning the loss, financial loss, suffered by chinese companies in libya as well as the latest situation of their engagement in the after-war reconstruction in that country? the second part of my question is, what kinds of measures will the chinese government employ in order to ensure the interest and rights of chinese companies working abroad, particularly in libya and other arab countries, because recently we have seen some turbulence or turmoil in some arab countries causing
financial losses of chinese companies. so what will the chinese government do to safeguard the interests of chinese companies in those arab countries and how to develop the economy relations with those arab countries. thank you. [ speaking in foreign language ]. >> translator: protecting the property, project to safety as well as the safety of our workers working abroad has always been the top priority of the entire chinese government including all the government authorities. this is a very important task for all of us. and the incident took place in a very uncertain manner, and we
had tried our best to employ possible measures to ensure the property and safety -- safety of property and our workers in that country, and we've withdrawn 35,800 out of the country and of course left some in the country to take care of the properties owned by chinese companies in libya, but also, of course, also worked with local organizations in this regard and recently the dg of the department of international economic cooperation of the ministry in conjunction with some chinese companies' representatives went to libya and valua evaluated th situation there to see if it's the right time for us to engage in the reconstruction there.
particularly they assessed the security situation. i think the basic information is that, the key message is that -- chinese companies do not invest in libya. there was some gossip that companies arrested scores of billions of u.s. dollars there, but that's not true, but we did undertake some engineering and contracting projects there where there's quite large value and some projects had already approached the final completion of the construction, which will be turned over to the local government. and some of those projects are public housing projects. unfortunately. those projects -- due to the intervention of foreign forces and due to the damage of local
forces, those would damage seriously. that's why we're also now negotiating with the authority of libya for compensation for chinese companies involved in those projects, and, of course, we want that chinese companies can go back to libya at early age to restart those projects. at this moment we are still at the process of assessment as well as the conditions become ripe according to our evaluation, chinese companies will go back to libya. so from what happened in libya, we can see how important stability and safety and security is -- how important security and safety and stability can be for our country, and, also, we've seen some regional conflicts in arab region have been extended to more and more countries, so we need to -- to do a better job to alert the chinese companies working in those countries to
protect themselves. pe give them early warning. for instance, we would know you're very concern and a situation and i can tell thaw mo you that most of chinese workers have been drawn back from that country to china, only about 100 people left there taking care of the projects, the assets and the properties, and we will wait until the local situation stabilizes and will go back to syria and restart those projects. thank you. >> third row in the middle. first gentleman. from the left. >> good morning. from bloomberg. the wto plans a seminar to discuss the relationship between exchange rates and trade. i wanted to ask you how you view discontent to watch china's exchange rate from countries
[ speaking in foreign language ] >> so i think chinese reporters need to learn from the gentleman from bloomberg. you raise three questions in one sigh will try to be brief and the moderate sir welcome to stop me at any time if she believes that i overshoot the target. with regard to the conference, or the work shop that you mentioned at the end of this month, the relationship between currency and trade. we have noted that the treasury secretary of the u.s. and also ustr have region al -- a letter to its congress that they will try every means and every channel to promote the reform on the exchange rate or currency scheme.
i did mention that they were trying to promote reform on the exchange rate. i think this is an academic conference, which is organized by the working group within the wto on trade, debt and finance. so china will send experts and ak deemians to to participate but we do not believe this conference of academic will receive any mandate to mandate trade measures, or measures that link trade with currency measures. with regard to the organization, it's only for discussion. it does not have the authorization to take action.
so as i mentioned, it's purely academic and we will be part of that discussion, and we don't think it should be the best place to talk about the ib exchange rate. also, you mentioned that brazil was criticized in china on currency, but that was not accurate, because i received information that in march this year, president of brazil made a very important speech. developed markets are expanding their currency and they are turning the center of attention to developing countries, which is not right, which should be condemned, and i think that what we heard. also, china, in the midst of the global financial crisis believes that currency should be maintained at a relatively stable level. so artificial undevaluation or
appreciation will be not advisable and not economical, and will not be conducive to china and other countries by going out of the crisis. regards -- as regards the relationship between trade and currency and the relationship between china and the u.s., it takes a lot of time to talk about this topic. so -- and, also, i will need to quote a lot of numbers and figures. as i said, a far distant second in terms of trade surplus, and about $90 billion worth of cap. the u.s. is $737 billion and china is $115 billion. so that's for surplus. so as you can see from this gap, our statistics, despite
differences between china and the u.s., about $20 billion difference a statistical difference. we are wondering what has caused or what has caused the huge gap of $90 billion for the u.s. low, about $200 billion u.s. worth of trade. we really need to think over this issue, and anyone who's learned about economics will draw a very natural conclusion on that. you do have -- your third, question, right? the third question? -- [ speaking in foreign language ] >> translator: regarding china's
poli policies and arrangements. i am not in a position to comment and answer your question. regarding china's trade with europe, since the second half of 2011 and since february this year, china's export to europe has seen a marginal decline. about 2% to 3% points of decline. we understand that this is due to the problems in the eurozone. and the economies are shrinking. china is open and china's export to europe is increasing. so we are ever the view that the eurozone and the eu will be able to overcome their difficulties, but it takes time. we're confident about the prospect, and we are not only helping the esfs and the ems,
esm, we are also participating in other mechanisms. we hope that the eu will be able to take austerity measures at the same time come up with ways to stimulate its economy. so we encourage trade and investment with europe, and that's why imports and exports between china and europe and also to where investment including chinese investment in europe, greenfield and merges and acquisitions have both seen increases. so this is a testimony of china's -- the quality of chinese people. we honor our words, and, also, this suts that suggests that the trade between europe and china at the end of last year was about $567 billion u.s., and we are the surplus side. china is the top -- europe is china's top trading partner, and
also the top source of imports for china. so the prosperity of europe and the european union will be in china's interests in helping eu will be helping ourselves. so -- that's my answer to your question. thank you to minister for answering three questions in order to give more opportunities to the journalists, please, honor our rule or policy. only ask one question at a time. the lady from the fourth row. n ]
>> i'm with a dotcom. previous prevus questions were raised between china and the united states. on agafebruary 28th president oa signed an agreementhere established where work on monitoring or supervising so-called busiommercial illegalities of other countries including china, and, also, before convening the session some officials also said that, actually. they were ready for some trade war between china and the united states. so my question is how do you evaluate this latest development? do you believe this will further hurt the trade relations between the two countries? thank you.
>> translator: well, actually, this is the last question i want -- i hope to be asked today, but unfortunately, you touched upon this question, yes, indeed, on february the 28th. president obama signed the executive order to establish an itce. interagency trade enforcement center and the full point of the amount of this is to oversee the trade practices of some key other countries, including china. president obama named china in his state of the union address. so unfortunately, china, including i, myself, as the trade minister of china, has to face up with this issue. yes, on part of china, we are
keeping a close watch on this new center to see what it is going to do. according to the u.s. side, a center where we monitoring trades of other country. as part of the commerce we want to have dialogue and consultation with that center and hope the center will work in a very fair, transparent and open manner. talking about the trade relations between china and the united states. a very important part of the over relationship between the two countries when vice president ginping visited the united states recently he talked many strained relations. some of us -- kind of balancing -- stall for shipping vessels, because shipping
vessels have to depend on this kind of balancing stones when the vessels encounter big turbulence, but this was not agreed by some american friends. but, anyway, this is our avaluation. this is the basic reality or importance of trade relations across the two countries, and we believe trade, actual trade is in the long-term interest of both countries and both peoples. a lot of china, we have thought always the consensus of g-20 summit leaders, as i mentioned earlier, we tried not to issue any new protectionist measures in time of crisis. unfortunately, that happens to be what the united states has done. we, of course, will protect the legitimate interests of chinese companies. we will turn to the wto roots to
>> translator: i have several questions for minister chen. monday we all listened to the report of the work of the government delivered by the pri mere. according to the report continuing to stimulate domestic consumption and demand will remain as a top priority of the work of the chinese government. at the same time, we are aware that some consumption boost schemes such as home appliances into the countryside and trade up old home appliances for new ones have come to the end. so the question is will the ministry of commerce employ a
new round of stimulus stimulating measures to boost domestic consumption? if that's going to be the case, what is the timetable in which format and which sectors or regions will be the focal point. my second question is related to the current situation that in china we are still suffering a very high level of distribution or circulation cost which has negatively affected the functioning of the chinese economy as well as the continuous improvement of chinese people's living standards. i want to know your comments or your view of this specific matter and will the ministry of commerce employ any measures to address this problem? and the third question is given the sluggish u.s. economy, will the chinese government accelerate or given the ttp initiative by the united states,
will the chinese government be more engaged in the fta negotiations with japan and korea for the china, korea, japan fta? thank you. >> translator: minister chen, you are -- you can decide on how many questions you want to answer. maybe they will come up again from another journalist. so i will just answer the first few questions. actually, the first question is in two halves. first regarding the measures and second regarding the cost of logistics. i have a correction. home appliances into the countryside scheme is not phased out and will be continued over the course of this year. and 30 provinces, about ten of them have intention of phasing
out this scheme. but rest will continue. and this scheme for stimulating domestic consumption has resulted in sales of about 20 mi million home appliances, about 15 million worth of goods. and the tradeup scheme, old for new, by the end of last year was discontinued. and that policy also created about $90 million in sales and about $34 million in sales value. so for this year, for stimulating consumption, we continue to implement the home appliances into the countryside program. we also try to promote the distribution sector for farm goods and farm produce and also
improve the environment and conditions for people to feel comfortable with consumption. for example, we're leading the effort, the dplemonstration project and the domestic help service that's we're trying to spear head together with other ministries. in beijing and other cities. for example, in beijing we want to continue this first scheme in beijing because many of you are here so you will be paying attention to that scheme. and also a lot of the measures mentioned in the reform document are targeting cost logistics and the logistic sector. so i'll touch upon that. how do we rebalance? how do we upgrade our industries to stimulate consumption? it is a question on the minds of many policymakers.
and we are contemplating new measures to stimulate consumption further. and some of these measures will be discussed. but i can share with you that the direction of our measures will be to promote projects which are green and conducive to life and also the development of the circular economy. as regards and cost of distribution or circulation, it is indeed a very thorny issue because logistics is now playing more and more important role in china's economy. and last year we organized conference or training course for leaders and the state level leaders. and there was a document from the central government that stipulates that we were more focused on production and less
on logistics in the past. but now logistics is rising importance. and there's not enough efforts on that front. so to date, we believe consumption is more closely dependent on logistics. and logistics will be critical to china's economic trance fo transformation and homegrown innovation in the corporate sector. for the past few years, the sector has come a long way. and i will not comment on our accomplishments. i do see challenges, big challenges ahead. for example, there are many linkages and stages on the supply chain. and efficiency has not been high. so we've been working together with the bureau of national bureau of statistics and our
studies suggest that the cost of logistics as a percentage of gdp was around 18% which was relatively high. because the same percentage in other developed -- in developed countries, the percentage was about 8% to 10%. so this shows that in china it is still a developing country. and china's logistic network is still lagging behind. also reflects that there is a lot of potential for china to develop its logistic sector and about half of the costs could be saved. and if used information based technology we might be able to achieve that. so it is the two sides of a coin. that's why there is a decision
after the sessions work conference on logistics. a nationwide conference consisting of eight major ministries and government agencies will be convened. and we are in the process of looking into the causes of why the costs of logistics are so high. those include rising factory prices and institution problems and structural texts and also public infrastructure for logistics. i will talk about why we mentioned the public good infrastructure for logistics. in western countries, for major consumer groups, staple products like farm products and food products, vegetables, they enter the commerce sector using the