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Press Conference of the Shanghai Municipal Government

Feb 22, 2018

Xiao Guiyu: The first session of the 15th Shanghai People’s Congress closed recently. Today, we feel honored to invite Mayor Ying Yong to meet Chinese and foreign media representatives and answer their questions. I now give the floor to Mayor Ying Yong.

Ying Yong: The city’s “two sessions” were successfully concluded. This is a comprehensive implementation of President Xi Jinping’s Thoughts on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. Media correspondents and friends compiled a lot of fruitful and effective reports. Thank you for your reports during the two sessions.

I delivered a speech at the closing meeting of the first session of the 15th Shanghai People’s Congress. You have already seen the new leadership of the city government. I now welcome your questions.

People’s Daily: Shanghai’s GDP grew at 6.9 percent last year. Are you satisfied with the figure? What are your and the government’s expectations on the city’s future economic growth?

Ying Yong: Shanghai’s economy grew steadily last year with the annual GDP expanding 6.9 percent from a year earlier to over 3 trillion yuan. However, what we value more is high-quality and sustainable economic growth and improvement in people’s living standard. Last year, the modern service industry maintained a growth of more than 10 percent, faster than the whole service industry’s 7.5-percent growth. New energy vehicles, industrial robots, high-end medical equipment and other emerging industries grew around 20 percent. Residents’ per capita income grew 8.6 percent, faster than the city’s economic growth. The general public budget revenue increased by 9.1 percent compared to the significant 16.1-percent growth in 2016.

We are fully confident about Shanghai’s economic growth and we will concentrate on the high-quality of local economic development.

Xinhua News Agency: The city’s 2017-2035 master plan for development has been approved by the State Council. What are the highlights of the plan and what measures will be taken to realize the blueprint?

Ying Yong: The latest plan reflects new requirements by the central government as well as new expectations from city residents. According to the plan, Shanghai will be transformed into an innovative, humanistic and eco-friendly metropolis. The plan also clarifies the city’s future goals and encompasses a long-term vision through 2050. We need the suggestions and participation of our citizens to achieve the goal.

Bloomberg: What’s the difference between the construction of the free trade port and the free trade zone? What breakthroughs will be made this year?

Ying Yong: Regarding the construction of the free trade zone, we will focus on the construction of a comprehensive reform pilot area with openness and innovation, a risk testing area of the open economy system and an advanced area with improved governmental capacity. We will also strengthen the collaboration between FTZ reforms and local city reforms and between the construction of the international financial center and the science and technology innovation center.

The free trade account used to facilitate financial operations in the FTZ is part of the financial reform. So far, 70,000 free trade accounts have been opened with maximum fundraising topping 1.1 trillion yuan. Next, the city will expand the functions of free trade accounts.

Dragon TV: Shanghai has made achievements in the regulation and control of the housing market? What measures will the city take this year to develop the housing market institution that promotes both renting and purchase of houses?

Ying Yong: We implemented the “Six Measures” and “Nine Measures” to regulate the housing market and have made some achievements. Last year, the price index of the city’s new commercial houses was steady and the price index of secondhand housing in November and December fell 0.3 and 0.1 percent, respectively.

We will accelerate the establishment of a housing system that promotes both rental and home ownership. We increased the supply of rental houses and offered 79.7 hectares of land for rental housing last year. This year, the city will build or transform 200,000 rental houses. On the other hand, we will also develop professional, market-based and institutionalized home renting enterprises.

Hong Kong Takungpao: What cooperation can we expect between Shanghai and Hong Kong in the construction of scientific innovation centers in the future?

Ying Yong: Shanghai and Hong Kong have maintained close communication. The two cities jointly established the economic and trade cooperation conference mechanism 15 years ago to promote joint economic development. Hong Kong accounts for about 50 percent of all foreign investment. The Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect Program sees an average trade volume of 8.7 billion yuan every day. Last year, nearly 6,700 Hong Kong students participated in activities held in Shanghai. The fourth Shanghai-Hong Kong Cooperation Conference will be held in Hong Kong.

Jiefang Daily: This year, Shanghai will hold the first China International Import Expo. It is said that the expo plans to build a “Six days + 365 days” trade service platform and take advantage of its spillover effects. How can the platform contribute to Shanghai’s construction of an international consumption city?

Ying Yong: The China International Import Expo is a national strategy which serves the country’s new round of high-level opening-up. The Ministry of Commerce has set up a China International Import and Export Bureau in Shanghai. Besides, the city has set up 16 working groups which make efforts on business introduction, security, transportation and other areas to develop the city into a world-class expo venue. We will also encourage collaborations between online and offline services in the areas of business, tourism and culture industries with the support of the “Six days + 365 days” trade service platform to accelerate the construction of the city as an international trade center and consumption city.

CCTV: Last year, Shanghai made great achievements in the research of micro satellites and SULF. What major projects will be launched this year to accelerate the construction of the Zhangjiang Comprehensive National Scientific Center?

Ying Yong: The Zhangjiang Comprehensive National Scientific Center is a key initiative of the country’s science and technology innovation center. Construction of the Hard X-ray Free Electron Laser Facility will start this year. We will also accelerate the construction of the second phase of the Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility, the ultra-intense and ultra-short laser facility, soft XFEL, live cell image platform, as well as specialized medical facilities. As for the Zhangjiang Science City, its designed land area is 94 square kilometers. Last year, 35 projects were launched and a number of new projects will be started this year. Our purpose is to make the science city a place that is oriented towards the world’s most cutting-edge technologies. At the end of last year, the 45-kilometer Huangpu River waterfront opened to the public. Will the walkway along Suzhou Creek be lined up and fully open to the public in the future?

Ying Yong: We will upgrade the landscape lighting along the banks of the Huangpu River and consolidate all tourism resources of the river to turn it into a world-class attraction to improve the function and quality of the waterfront area.

We will launch the fourth phase of the comprehensive treatment of Suzhou Creek, of which an important task is to link up the waterfront on the creek. We will enhance the reservation of the waterfront area while proceeding with the creek’s linking-up project step by step.

Xinmin Evening News: People’s livelihood security has been at the center of social concern. Last year, Shanghai’s minimum monthly income was raised to 2,300 yuan, which is the highest compared to other regions in China. Will the limit be raised again this year? Will there be any adjustment to the pension?

Ying Yong: We are after people-centered development, development for the people. We have stressed on the mutual promotion of economic growth and people’s benefits and the new financial strength will be put first to improve people’s livelihood. We will continue to raise the pension and the minimum wage this year.

China National Radio: What measures will be launched this year in terms of raising efficiency in building an international legal and convenient market environment? What else will the Shanghai government do to relieve pressure on enterprises?

Ying Yong: The optimizing of market environment is a key factor to enhance the city’s core competence. Generally Shanghai has a fine market environment. Shanghai owes great part of its development over the years to its international, legal and convenient market environment. Currently the city has more than 80,000 foreign-invested companies, including 625 headquarters of cross-border enterprises and 426 foreign-invested R&D centers. The GDP and tax income private enterprises pay account for a quarter and one third, respectively, of Shanghai’s total numbers. In 2017, Shanghai averaged 1,184 new businesses per working day and 80 percent of them are active. This shows that Shanghai has a benign market environment.

But we will continue to improve the environment. According to President Xi’s instructions, based on in-depth research and surveys, plans to build a better market environment and an open economic system have been designed, targeting the pain points in the market. We have decided on 10 specific actions on issues, including market access, construction permit and cross-border trade. We will strive to ensure that Shanghai provides a most efficient and transparent market environment with least administrative approval steps and least charges. We will release further measures to lighten the enterprises’ pressure this year.

Wenhui Daily: Mayor Ying, we know that you have been appointed the general “River Chief” in Shanghai in the task to crack down on water pollution since 2017. How do you rate the treatment work on the small and middle rivers last year? Are you confident about achieving the treatment goal in 2018?

Ying Yong: Shanghai is a city born by the rivers and it thrives depending on the rivers. The water is a natural advantage for the city, yet an ecological shortcoming that needs great efforts to make up. In 2017, we treated 1,864 polluted river sections totaling 1,756 kilometers. We have basically eliminated the smelly and dirty rivers; the water area did not shrink and the mechanism of River Chiefs has been fully implemented. I think we have done the work and it is up to the citizens to rate us.

The water environment treatment goal this year is to fully eliminate the smelly and dirty rivers and further improve the water quality. While taking care of the small and middle rivers, we will set out to land on the big rivers, too. We are promoting joint work in the water and above water and the treatment on the mainstream and the tributaries as well. The fourth phase of the Suzhou Creek comprehensive treatment will kick off this year and we will strive to open the work to develop the Shanghai section of the Wusong River. We will enhance the flood control ability as well as connect the waters to improve quality. We are fully confident about the treatment.

United Daily News: More Taiwanese are looking to work, study or start their business on the mainland. What measures will Shanghai launch for these people who plan to develop their future in Shanghai?

Ying Yong: We always promote the idea that we are a family. Shanghai and Taiwan have broad and deep cooperation in trade, education and culture. Presently Shanghai has more than 12,000 enterprises with Taiwan investment, including 700 companies that are settled in the free trade zone. There are four cross-strait youth start-up and employment bases. Shanghai is also one of the earliest cities to pilot Taiwanese employment in public institutions on the mainland.

According to the work report of the 19th National Congress of CPC, Taiwanese people studying, working or starting their own business on the mainland will be gradually treated the same as other citizens. Shanghai welcomes Taiwanese, especially young people, to develop in the city. We will further implement the principles that protect Taiwan people’s rights and benefits and design further policies to guarantee their equal treatment in the city. We share the opportunities and benefits in Shanghai along with Taiwan people.

Shanghai Radio: Shanghai has been promoting garbage classification for many years, but the system has not been fully implemented. Will there be any progress in the area this year?

Ying Yong: The garbage issue is relevant to all the households just like the environment quality and the city’s image. Shanghai as a metropolis needs to face this problem head-on and crack down on the issue with determination as it did with the comprehensive environment treatment and the fireworks. Fundamentally we need to cut down on the amount of garbage produced and the sorting needs to be carried out through the process, but it is a difficult point for us. And we need to motivate the whole society for the matter. We will speed up the utilization and harmless processing of household garbage. Last year we designed measures like rules to regulate construction waste, sorting plan for household garbage and the system for recyclable trash. Starting this year, we might use about five years to basically solve the comprehensive garbage treatment issue. Today I would like to grab the chance and advocate garbage sorting to the whole society.

The Paper: Relevant persons have been held responsible for the Ctrip Nursery issue that took place last November. Authorities in education, civil affairs and health have announced enhanced supervision of nurseries for children aged less than 3 years with standards and regulations. How is it going now?

Ying Yong: The nursery service is related to children’s health, which is many parents’ concern. It was heartbreaking for me to hear of such an incident. We would never want to see such a thing happen. It was necessary to seriously punish those held responsible according to law. Shanghai is in urgent need of nursery service and it is a problem for the government, the society and families to solve. The government should pay attention to the issue, work our relevant policy and measures and complete the bursary management system. The involvement of society and our citizens will help speed up the process. We also encourage social engagement to open regulated nursery institutions for children to be given in professional hands.

China News Service: Shanghai is building itself into an outstanding metropolis and there is great demand for talents. What policies will be launched to attract talents and let them stay?

Ying Yong: Talents are the top resources. They are the core for the city’s creativity and competence, so we need to emphasize talents and their work. The governmental work report this year has included a part that focuses on talents, which is also our understanding and attitude towards them. In recent years we have launched 20 rules and then another 30 rules for talent policies. We will stick to the rule of talents first regardless of the regional boundary or other limits and we will continue to optimize the talent mechanism so as to make Shanghai a place where talents can play their role, start their business and settle down.

Shanghai Daily: Shanghai saw more clear days last year. What measures will be taken next to improve air quality?

Ying Yong: A green environment is our treasure and the improvement on the environment is the improvement on people’s livelihood. The annual average PM2.5 concentration was 39μg/m³, down 13.3 percent from the 45μg/m³ in 2016 and down 37.1 percent from the 62μg/m³ in the base year 2013. The air quality has been fine for the past few days and I just checked that today it is rated as light pollution with the number beyond 130 and the PM2.5 concentration reaching 104μg/m³. We will launch a new round of air cleaning mission this year, strengthen collaboration in the Yangtze River Delta and continue to improve the air quality. Our target is to lower the average concentration to under 35μg/m³ by the year 2022.

Guangming Daily: The first snow in 2018 for Shanghai revealed the city’s efficient and orderly response, a showcase for the city’s fine management. Over the past year you have mentioned on many occasions that Shanghai will grab hold of fine management. What changes can we expect to see in Shanghai this year?

Ying Yong: President Xi demanded last March that Shanghai’s city management should go into specific details. Based on our in-depth survey and research, we have made opinions on implementing fine management and the first three-year plan. Generally we will use legal, social and standard smart approaches to expand the coverage in time and space for fine management, so as to make our city safer, cleaner and more orderly. The heavy snow a few days ago was a test for our management. And much praise goes to the municipal administrative departments, the traffic department and the cleaning workers, to the media that spread the positive energy and to our citizens. The quality development of fine management in a metropolis is a long-term mission. This year’s government work report as well as the first three-year plan have raised plenty of tasks like sorting out the potential dangers in the city, enhancing railway security checks, increasing parking spaces in residential communities, transferring the cables underground, setting up more service spots for outdoor workers and building more barrier-free facilities. These might not seem like major plans, but they are closely related to people’s life. People can feel for themselves how we have done. We set out to let people feel the warmth of the city.

Phoenix Television: In exploring the development of a free trade port, how does Shanghai coordinate between further opening-up and enhancing risk control? What else will Shanghai do to sustain financial stability and strengthen supervision?

Ying Yong: According to the central government’s requirement, we will take firm steps to prevent and resolve financial risks and handle the relationship between risk and financial innovation. Without the prevention against risk and financial safety, financial innovation is impossible and Shanghai cannot become an international financial center. We have always placed financial risk prevention high on the agenda. Municipal financial supervision will be strengthened. We will crack down on crimes like illegal financing to regulate financial behaviors so as to boost sound development. Internet finance will be regulated as well. We will also release relevant policies and measures to optimize the financial environment. This is also an important precondition and content for building Shanghai into an international financial center.