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Highlights of September 8 Press Conference on the 12th Five-Year Plan to build Shanghai into an international trade center

Sha Hailin, deputy secretary general of the Shanghai Municipal Government and director of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce

Jian Heping, inspector of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce

Gu Jun, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce

China Business News: I have questions for Mr. Sha Hailin. Shanghai has been working hard to build the “Four Centers.” Among them, the financial center and the shipping center are better known. What is the relationship between the international trade center and the other three centers? How will they support each other? What advantages does Shanghai have to become an international trade center?

Sha Hailin: I will first talk about the relationship among the three centers. As we all know, the international trade center is a key component of Shanghai’s construction of the “Four Centers.” To build an international trade center is actually to create a market system. In the age of economic globalization, trade not only connects producers but also connects them with consumers. An international trade center can have some sway over global economic activities and attract the flow of goods, materials, information, capital and talent from around the world, and it can help the city adjust and optimize its industrial structure. That is to say, while we are trying to change the city’s industrial structure and growth pattern, we should put an emphasis on the construction of the international trade center.
To your second question, Shanghai’s advantages as an international trade center are as follows: First, the city already has a good foundation and framework. It is traditionally a big port for domestic and foreign trade, and it has a business culture. Shanghai is located in the middle of China’s coastline and is a shipping and aviation hub. All these give Shanghai a unique advantage. Second, Shanghai is a magnet to talent and has a large pool of skilled labor. It boasts a good legal system and excellent law enforcement. The city’s government efficiency and administrative practices are well acclaimed in the world. And historically Shanghai is a trading place and a shopper’s paradise.

Eastday.com: I’d like to know what is the bottleneck in the construction of the international trade center? Can you brief us on its latest development? Since Mr. Sha just talked about the Hongqiao International Convention Center project, could you please tell us about its progress?

Gu Jun: To serve the whole country, Shanghai needs to make breakthroughs in industrial transformation and in reforming its administrative and taxation systems.  Shanghai has always been a city of more openness as compared with other Chinese cities and we will continue to push for market opening.
About the latest progress in the construction of Shanghai International Trade Center, a government document on accelerating the center’s construction has just been published. A while ago Mr. Sha introduced the 12th Five-Year Plan for the construction of the international trade center. The plan is the guide for the task.
The city has promoted the construction of Shanghai International Trade Center vigorously. For example, the Yangpu International Design and Trade Promotion Center project has attracted many world-class design firms from Italy and Ireland. Meanwhile, the Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone is applying for government approval to build a national base for trade services, an overseas marketing and sales center, and an e-commerce center. Some of these projects have been approved.

Sha Hailin: Building a state-level convention center can fully extend the sphere of influence of Shanghai’s advantages and realize the strategy of the State Council to turn Shanghai into the “Four Center.” The convention center project started at the end of 2009. On January 9 this year, the Ministry of Commerce and the Shanghai Municipal Government signed a cooperation agreement to build the project. This April, the two sides also set up a joint board to oversee the center’s construction. The Shanghai Exposition Corporation has also been established to run the facility. Currently, work is on schedule to obtain funding, permits and land. We are making efforts to ensure the construction will start as early as possible.

Shanghai Evening Post: The world economy and financial environment are undergoing some changes and new problems are arising. Will these changes and problems affect the positioning of Shanghai International Trade Center? Will authorities stick to their original plan or make certain adjustment?
My second question: what are the specific measures to speed up the construction of commercial facilities in newly developed urban centers in suburban Shanghai?

Jian Heping: About the first question, I think new changes and problems represent new opportunities for us. Each economic crisis will give birth to a new economic order and give rise to some new technologies. Certain new trends deserve our attention, such as e-commerce, the Internet of Things, and cloud computing. We must face new challenges with a positive attitude and seize every opportunity to add to our advantages.
Gu Jun: I’ll answer your second question. There are two kinds of commerce. One is found in downtown hubs such as Nanjing Road W., Lujiazui, Xujiahui and Huaihai Road M. It makes the city look prosperous. Another is found around residential communities to make life convenient.
As an active participant in the city’s development of new towns, the Municipal Commission of Commerce has organized big companies to set up their outlets in the new towns.
We are following the instruction of the Municipal Government to develop commercial facilities in new communities to meet the needs of Shanghai people.