The nationwide emergence of the spokesperson system at the local government level will establish a standard procedure for the release of government information and has demonstrated China's determination to increase transparency in its government operations.

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    Jiao Yang
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    Chen Qiwei
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  • Spokespersons
Highlights of June 15 Press Conference on the International Trade Center Shanghai Is Building

Jian Heping, deputy director of Shanghai Commerce Commission Sha Hailin, deputy secretary-general of Shanghai Municipal Government and director of Shanghai Commerce Commission

China Business News:You just mentioned the need to raise the level of convenience for international trade. My first question is: Is there any progress in building the comprehensive bonded area and the free trade park in Shanghai? Will there be some breakthrough in policy making? Second, the city will open more service categories to foreign firms on a trial basis. What are these categories? Third, what measures are being considered to facilitate offshore trading? What else needs to be done? You mentioned that Shanghai wants to become a shopper’s paradise and authorities are conducting policy researches. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

Jian Heping:Trade facilitation is a key aspect of the international trade center Shanghai is building. Mr. Sha has said Shanghai is pushing for more market opening and more convenience for trade. We are working hard to facilitate international trade. The city has introduced a system of joint meetings to discuss trade facilitation. This can pool efforts from all sides and involve the central government departments as well. In addition, we need to study and adopt a trade facilitation index system.

Sha Hailin:Such an index system can improve the efficiency of the customs, goods inspection and quarantine, foreign exchange administration, port management and commerce. It serves as a tool to measure the city’s trade facilitation based on both qualitative and quantitative criteria.

Jian Heping:We will first try these measures in areas under special supervision, such as the Waigaoqiao International Trade Showcase Area. As for the further opening of service market, we will discuss it with relevant departments of the central government and we hope Shanghai can take lead in the experiment.

International trade settlement plays an important role in facilitating offshore trade. Currently, eight enterprises are included in a pilot program in offshore trade settlement.

Thriving commerce is crucial for Shanghai’s rise as a shopper’s paradise. We will try to enhance the appeal of the city’s famous shopping streets such as Nanjing Road and Huaihai Road while developing new commercial hubs in suburban towns and new residential areas.

China Business News TV:I have a question for Mr. Sha. What specific measures will Shanghai take to make itself a model city in e-commerce? As some e-commerce giants are not local enterprises, such as Hangzhou-based Alibaba.com, does Shanghai have any plan to support and foster local e-commerce enterprises?

Sha Hailin:Model cities in e-commerce are selected by the Ministry of Commerce, which has already picked Shenzhen as a model city, but also found e-commerce in Shanghai has its own special features. First, it is much larger in scale; second, it is very vibrant, especially in B2B business. In addition, the city is advanced in domestic and international communication. The local exhibition industry incorporates e-commerce with other services such as logistics and financing, thus offering more e-commerce potentials. We are persuading the Ministry of Commerce to give Shanghai more pilot projects and we will take the opportunity to serve as role model in e-commerce.

Oriental Morning Post:Regarding trade facilitation, Mr. Sha mentioned that Shanghai will make efforts to improve the language environment for international trade. What languages will Shanghai government use in releasing its trade-related documents? What are those documents about and when will they be released?

Sha Hailin:Currently we are mainly using English but will gradually adopt other languages. It all depends on actual circumstances and we are going in that direction except we don’t have a timetable yet. But there will be notable improvement in this regard during the 12th Five-Year Plan period.

Taiwan Economic Daily News:I want to follow up on the issue of “shopper’s paradise,” which is an interesting topic for overseas travelers. Mr. Sha said he was unfamiliar with that issue. Now I want to know if this issue exists. Some media have reported on this and there are different opinions within the State Council due to different perspectives. What could be the problem? Is Shanghai trying to get the central government approval to offer tax rebate to foreign visitors?

Sha Hailin:We have discussed the issue for sure but haven’t made a concrete proposal. We just explored its feasibility and made it our objective, but we haven’t made an official proposal yet.