China’s foreign trade performed better than expected in 2018 amid complex global economic conditions. Three figures are especially eye-catching.
Last year, China’s total value of imports and exports of goods stood at 30.5 trillion yuan ($4.56 trillion), up 9.7 percent year-on-year. Its imports and exports of services totaled 5.2 trillion yuan, rising 11.5 percent from a year before. Both sets of figures have created new records.
The total commodities imports and exports reported a net increase of $510 billion from a year ago, more than the annual volume created in 2001 when China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO).
According to WTO statistics, China’s contribution to global import growth was 16.8 percent in the first three quarters of 2018.
In the second half of 2018, China unveiled a series of policies to stabilize foreign trade. By the end of last December, the overall customs clearance time of China’s imports and exports has been reduced by 56.36 and 61.19 percent, respectively. The country’s general tariff has been reduced to 7.5 percent from 9.8 percent in 2017.
The steady growth of foreign trade has brought huge opportunities to Chinese enterprises, consumers as well as international companies.
Zou Jiahao, manager of a clothing store in Changshu, east China’s Jiangsu province, said he had to recruit more employees who could communicate with foreign customers as his consumer base was enlarging.
Yang Lei, a citizen in Zhengzhou, capital city of central China’s Henan province, said food from around the world were coming onto her dinner table and her closet was also filled with more and more clothes from different countries.
“Place and order in the morning and I’ll get the parcel before the next afternoon,” she noted, speaking highly of the delivery efficiency of cross-border e-commerce platforms.
“We have purchased color-coated sheets and galvanized plates from Chinese manufactures for 8 years in a row, as they are smooth, high-strength, resilient and corrosion-resistant,” the president of an iron and steel company in Egypt surnamed Halid introduced to his client at the Port of Sokhna.
Zhao Zhongxiu, president of Shandong University of Finance and Economics, said the complex and ever-changing international environment has tested the resilience of the Chinese industries.
Trucks loaded with daily use run through the Yiwu Bonded Logistic Center in Yiwu, east China’s Zhejiang province on Feb. 25, 2019. The foreign trade of Yiwu hit a monthly record this January. Photo: People’s daily online