China’s foreign trade maintains strong momentum

By Du Haitao and Wang Ke from People’s Daily
China’s foreign trade has kept momentum for stable growth with ever stronger internal driving forces amid complex external environment and uncertainties.
The China Import and Export Fair, the country’s largest trade fair, concluded its 125th session on May 5 in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong Province. The fair is considered as a barometer of China’s foreign trade performances, displaying the country’s development directions in the sector.
Attracting numerous buyers from over 200 countries and regions, the fair created total export turnover of 199.5 billion yuan (about $29.7 billion). Moreover, China’s foreign trade enterprises showcased their high-quality, high-tech and high value-added products at the fair thanks to their accelerated pace of innovation and upgrading. Their products received huge popularity among the buyers.
China’s import and export saw a steady growth in total volume. The country’s foreign trade of goods climbed 4.3 percent year on year in the first four months of 2019 to 9.51 trillion yuan. Exports increased by 5.7 percent to 5.06 trillion yuan during this period, while imports grew by 2.9 percent to 4.45 trillion yuan.
The sector also saw restructuring with high-quality development. From January to April, the structure of commodity imports and exports was further optimized, and the exports of high value-added commodities continued to increase.
Exports of mechanical and electrical products rose by 4.5 percent to 2.97 trillion yuan, accounting for 58.6 percent of the total value of exports. Private firms’ imports and exports increased by 11 percent to 3.9 trillion yuan, accounting for 41 percent of China’s total foreign trade and moving up 2.5 percentage points from the same period last year.
Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out that China should work faster to turn itself into a trader of quality from a trader of quantity, consolidate its traditional advantages in foreign trade, foster new competitive advantages, expand the space for foreign trade development, and actively expand imports.
According to data released by the World Trade Organization, China accounted for 12.8 percent and 10.8 percent of the global exports and imports respectively in 2018, serving as a stabilizer of the global trade.
Although the foreign trade situation remains grim, the country enjoys many favorable factors in pursuing stable trade growth as it is still in an important period of strategic opportunity for development. It has the confidence to maintain steady growth of foreign trade.
Such confidence comes from constant improvement in both quality and efficiency. At present, China has ensured more balanced imports and exports, more coordinated regional development and further optimized product structure.
Exports of high value-added mechanical and electrical products and equipment manufacturing products maintained a sound momentum for growth with improved international competitiveness.
In the first four months of this year, the export value of electromechanical products was 1.33 trillion yuan, an increase by 4.9 percent, and that of mechanical equipment was 890.56 billion yuan, up by 3.9 percent.
Such confidence comes from consistently improved business environment. Since last year, China has successively introduced a series of policies and measures to reduce taxes and fees and optimize business environment at the ports. Thanks to these efforts, the country has witnessed impressive improvement in trade facilitation.
According to the World Bank, China moved up 32 places in the ease of doing business ranking in 2018. The country also leaped from 97th to 65th in trading across borders.
China has actively cut tariffs on products including medicines, automobiles and spare parts, and daily consumer goods, which has effectively boosted import growth.
Such confidence also comes from the enhanced diversity of trading partners. While maintaining a sound growth in trade volume with traditional trading partners, China’s foreign trade enterprises are actively expanding economic and trade exchanges with other countries and regions.
In the first four months of 2019, imports and exports between China and major markets including the European Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Japan all increased.
The country’s trade with Belt and Road countries totaled 2.73 trillion yuan, up 9.1 percent year on year. The growth was 4.8 percentage points higher than the overall trade growth in the period, and the trade volume accounted for 28.7 percent of the country’s total foreign trade, up by 1.3 percentage points from a year ago.
China will enjoy greater room for maintaining stable growth of foreign trade as it is opening new markets and creating new demands, said Bai Ming, deputy director of the Ministry of Commerce’s International Market Research Institute.
Li Kuiwen, spokesperson of the General Administration of Customs, attributed the steady growth of foreign trade to the stable growth of China’s economy.
China’s door of opening up will open even wider and policies to stabilize foreign trade are taking further effects, which will vigorously promote transformation and upgrading of the country’s foreign trade and stimulate the vitality of enterprises, Li said.
This year, China will further enhance trade facilitation, continue to optimize the business environment at the ports and ease the burden on foreign trade enterprises, in a bid to promote the steady development of foreign trade.

The 125th China Import and Export Fair held in Guangzhou, east China’s Guangdong Province, is crowded with visitors, April 18, 2019. (Photo by People’s Daily Online)

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