China’s foreign trade sustains sound growth

By Du Haitao, People’s Daily

China’s foreign trade of goods jumped 9.4 percent year on year to 19.8 trillion yuan (about $2.94 trillion) during the first half of the year, according to the General Administration of Customs (GAC).

The country’s foreign trade has achieved year-on-year growth for eight consecutive seasons, making remarkable contributions to the stability of the macroeconomy.

China’s foreign trade is expected to achieve further stable growth as the country implements a package of detailed policies to stabilize the economy and orderly promotes work resumption of enterprises, said GAC spokesperson Li Kuiwen.

Local governments of China have issued a slew of policies to promote foreign trade stability and quality and alleviate difficulties for market entities since this year.

In the first half of this year, the GAC has also rolled out a series of measures to shorten customs clearance time, optimize the business environment at ports and stabilize the production and supply chains.

A staff member with the trade promotion council of Qinhuangdao, north China’s Hebei province, shows the first Certificate of Origin under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership issued by the council, on Jan. 28, 2022. (Photo by Cao Jianxiong/People’s Daily Online)

The GAC piloted a nationwide program of “ship-side direct pickup” of imported goods and “direct loading upon arrival” of exported goods to ensure smooth logistics. More local customs promote simplified customs clearance that allows multiple procedures to run simultaneously based on successful pilot operations of Shanghai and Chongqing customs.

The GAC also worked to ensure customs clearance for key supply chain enterprises on a “white list,” advance the facilitation and source diversification of food imports, promote the imports of quality agricultural products from Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) member countries to China, and ensure domestic supply of bulk commodity imports such as iron ore and cotton.

According to GAC statistics, China’s trade with major trading partners maintained growth in the first six months of this year. In particular, its trade with countries along the Belt and Road and members of the RCEP soared by 17.8 percent and 5.6 percent year on year respectively. Total trade between China and other BRICS countries stood at 1.64 trillion yuan, up 14.1 percent year on year, 4.7 percentage points higher than the overall growth rate of the country’s foreign trade.

The first direct export shipment under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership starts at the Damaiyu port, Yuhuan, Taizhou, east China’s Zhejiang province, June 6, 2022. (Photo by Duan Junli/People’s Daily Online)

Served as this year’s BRICS chair, China has seen a remarkable increase in its trade with other BRICS countries, with the value of imports and exports growing from 960.21 billion yuan in 2009 to 3.17 trillion yuan in 2021, with an average annual growth rate of 10.5 percent.

The customs in Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang province had issued 16,774 Certificates of Origin in five months after the RCEP came into force on Jan. 1 this year, with a total value of over 4.82 billion yuan, saving 56 million yuan of tariffs for enterprises in the areas.

Li said the COVID-19 pandemic once led to a slide in the foreign trade in the Yangtze River delta, Pearl River delta, northeast China, and other regions. As the prevention and control situation improves and pro-growth policies are taking effect, foreign trade enterprises have resumed work and production in an orderly manner since May, and the monthly foreign trade growth in the above regions has turned from negative to positive, Li noted.

According to Li, foreign trade in the three regions increased by 4.8 percent, 2.8 percent, and 12.2 percent, respectively in May, and the growth rate in June further rebounded to 14.9 percent, 6.4 percent, and 12.8 percent.

The growth mirrored the strong resilience of China’s regional foreign trade and maintained the general stability of China’s foreign trade sector, the spokesperson noted.

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