China’s foreign trade grows 4.1 percent in first five months

By Du Haitao, People’s Daily
In the first five months of this year, the total value of China’s import and export of goods reached 12.1 trillion yuan, up 4.1 percent year-on-year. Exports were 6.5 trillion yuan and imports 5.6 trillion yuan, increasing by 6.1 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, according to China Customs statistics.
China’s import and export volume in May stood at 2.59 trillion yuan, an increase of 2.9 percent. Exports grew by 7.7 percent to reach 1.43 trillion yuan while imports were 1.16 trillion, down 2.5 percent.
China’s general trade rose rapidly and its proportion grew in the first five months. China’s trade volume with the EU, its largest trading partner, increased by 11.7 percent to 1.9 trillion yuan, and that with ASEAN, its second largest trading partner, grew by 9.4 percent to 1.63 trillion yuan.
The United States is China’s third largest trading partner currently. The China-US trade value went down by 9.6 percent to 1.42 trillion yuan, accounting for 11.7 percent of China’s total foreign trade.
Over the same period, China’s trade volume with countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative increased by 9 percent to 3.49 trillion yuan, 4.9 percentage points higher than the overall pace.
The volume accounted for 28.8 percent of the total foreign trade value and the proportion increased by 1.3 percentage points.
The import and export volume of private enterprises grew rapidly with a rising proportion. Exports of electro-mechanical and labor-intensive products maintained steady growth and imports of crude oil and natural gas grew in volume.
A report on China’s foreign trade recently released by the Ministry of Commerce pointed out China’s foreign trade environment has become more complicated and gained greater uncertainty since this year. But it should be noted that there are many favorable conditions to support China’s foreign trade development.
The previous five months’ statistics indicate that the foundation for high-quality development has been further consolidated and the endogenous power for foreign trade growth has continued to increase. In addition, new types of business models are becoming a new driving force for the steady growth of foreign trade.
A more friendly business environment and stronger new economic drivers in the future will better guarantee the high-quality development of China’s foreign trade.
Zhang Jianping, director of the Research Center for Regional Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce, believes that in response to the pressure and challenges, it is necessary to deepen supply-side structural reform in the financial sector, so as to provide a more favorable business environment for foreign trade enterprises.
Zhang said it is important to cultivate new growth points for foreign trade by promoting trade and investment facilitation based on the trial experience from pilot free trade zones. It is also necessary for China to strengthen cooperation with BRI countries, in a bid to build a diversified foreign trade market to accelerate foreign trade growth.

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