A vessel unloads containers at a terminal in Lianyungang, eastern China’s Jiangsu province, Nov. 8, 2019. (Photo by Geng Yuhe from People’s Daily)
By Du Haitao, Wang Ke, Kou Jiangze, Shen Shaotie, People’s Daily
China’s foreign trade volume expanded 2.4 percent year on year to 25.63 trillion yuan (about $3.67 trillion) in the first 10 months of this year, with exports up 4.9 percent to hit 13.99 trillion yuan.
The country’s foreign trade has maintained general stability, continuously optimized its structure and steadily improved its quality, despite the sluggish global trade and investment, as well as a development environment full of challenges and uncertainties.
Quarterly speaking, China’s import and export volumes in the first, second and third quarters were 7.01, 7.66 and 8.24 trillion yuan respectively, and the scale increased quarter by quarter.
At present, China has trade relations with more than 230 countries and regions. In the first 10 months, its trade with Belt and Road countries totaled 7.47 trillion yuan, up 9.4 percent year-on-year, higher than the overall average.
“China has diverse trade partners, thus ensuring higher capability of risk resistance,” said Liang Ming, director of the Institute of International Trade (IIT) under the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, a think tank with the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM).
China’s foreign trade used to develop at double-digit growths, but now the speed has been lowered. In this regard, experts explained that the evaluation of foreign trade growth calls for not only domestic data but also global figures, not only the size but also the quality.
They believe that scientific and rational judgment can only be made in the context of global economy and based on the characteristics of foreign trade development in different phases.
Horizontally, China’s foreign trade growth is still leading the world’s major economies despite the slowdown of its import and export growth. The country has further consolidated its position as the world’s largest trader of goods
According to the information recently released by the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the export performance of major economies in the first 8 months of this year, the exports of the US, Japan and South Korea were down by nearly 1 percent, 4.8 percent and 10 percent, respectively. The WTO also reported varying degrees of decline in the export of other important exporting countries.
However, China was the only country that has maintained growth. “The country’s export volume is expected to take 13 percent of the global share this year,” Liang said.
Comprehensively, the growth rate of China’s foreign trade is slowed down, but the country has optimized its regional distribution, coordinated export and import development, and granted a more important role to foreign trade in promoting high-quality economic development and meeting the people’s needs for a better life.
Central and western China witnessed rapid growth of foreign trade, while consumer products, advanced technologies and equipment, and key parts were the sectors that saw expanded import.
“This demonstrates that China is continuously unleashing the potential of domestic demand, upgrading industrial structure and expanding the demand for high-quality products,” said Fu Dahai, Associate Professor at the School of International Trade and Economics of Central University of Finance and Economics.
Although the growth rate of China’s foreign trade has slowed down, relevant enterprises have gradually developed new competitive advantages by reducing costs, increasing R&D input, and implementing market diversification. As a result, Chinese brands are gaining an obviously larger share in the total export.
Liang believes that, the decline of China’s foreign trade growth is an inevitable process in China’s upgrade and optimization of market structure, and is in line with the characteristics of foreign trade development in different phases.
Thanks to the country’s complete industrial chain and huge market, China’s foreign trade remains constant transformation and upgrading.
Customs statistics show that in the first 10 months of this year, China’s exports of value-added mechanical and electrical products increased significantly. Among them, the exports of electrical and electronic products stood at 3.73 trillion yuan, up 5.5%.
In addition, Chinese enterprises have accelerated the brand building process for their export commodities, as a result of which China’s exports of domestic brands rose by 12.9% in the first three quarters.
Since this year, China’s economy has maintained stable operation and achieved remarkable performance in the global context, laying a solid foundation for coping with external risks and challenges and realizing steady growth of foreign trade, said Li Kuiwen, spokesperson of China’s General Administration of Customs.
Since 2018, Chinese authorities have twice cut taxes on imports and facilitated customs clearance, cutting the clearance time for imports and exports by 56.4% and 64.7% respectively in the first nine months compared with 2017.
“Policies had been introduced intensively to improve the quality of foreign trade, which played an important role in stabilizing and advancing foreign trade.” Liang pointed out.
“China boasts all categories of industries, complete infrastructure, and 170 million people with higher education or professional skills”, said Chu Shijia, director of the Comprehensive Department of the MOFCOM.
China’s industrial chain enjoys comprehensive advantages that no country can compare, and such advantages will only be perfected with the joining of new industries, pushing foreign trade enterprises to constantly develop new competitiveness, Chu added.
Copper concentrates imported from Chile are unloaded at a port in eastern China’s Anhui province, Aug. 26, 2019. (Photo by Guo Shining from People’s Daily)
Workers produce orders placed by European and US customers at a workshop of a material company in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, Sept. 4, 2019. (Photo by Wang Zheng from People’s Daily)
Cranes at a port in Lianyungang, eastern China’s Jiangsu province are busy loading and unloading cargos. (Photo by Wang Chun from People’s Daily)
A truck of a logistics company transports a container at a port of Qingdao, a coastal city in eastern China’s Shandong province, Nov. 8, 2019. (Photo by Yu Fangping from People’s Daily)