By Fang Min
China’s exports rose 21.1 percent year on year in November 2020, according to data released by the country’s General Administration of Customs, which also showed that China’s total value of foreign trade in goods exceeded 29 trillion yuan (about $4.48 trillion) in the first 11 months of 2020, up 1.8 percent from the same period of 2019.
In fact, China has successfully reversed the downward trend in foreign trade in goods and secured better-than-expected performance since last September, with the gross value of imports and exports of goods enjoying positive growth for three months in a row from September to November last year.
In Taizhou, east China’s Zhejiang province, small and medium-sized foreign trade firms (those with a total export value of less than 100 million yuan), achieved a total export value of 8.99 billion yuan and a 49.6-percent growth last November, shattering records of both gross value and growth rate of exports in 2020, said recent statistics from Taizhou customs authority.
After experiencing a 20.3-percent sharp drop in the first quarter last year, small and medium-sized foreign trade companies in Taizhou rallied slightly in the second quarter with a 0.6-percent growth and recovered steadily in the third quarter, when the growth rate reached 1.9 percent.
“We have received overseas orders for products to be delivered in March and April, and phone calls from foreign clients have still kept coming these days. We are really busy,” said Xie Yong, a foreign trade dealer who sells products of Taizhou Zhengli Electric Motor Co., Ltd.
While people across the country were enjoying New Year celebrations, Xie was working the whole time during the 2021 New Year holiday. He has seen first-hand that China’s export sector has been returning fast to stable growth.
Xie is not the only foreign trade dealer busy handling rising overseas orders in Taizhou.
Dai Hongjun, an automobile shock absorber agent in Sanmen county of Taizhou, told People’s Daily that foreign trade firms in Sanmen county have seen an increase in overseas orders since July 2020.
“We have basically maintained a 50-percent growth in the number of overseas orders on a monthly basis since last August. So far, our products to be produced in the next few months have all been booked,” Dai said.
According to Dai, his company has distributors in more than 100 countries and regions around the world.
In order to help overseas customers get timely information about their orders, the company has opened 24-hour service hotline, Dai added.
The growth in foreign trade at the end of the year 2020 has offset the loss in the beginning of the year, said many distributors in Taizhou, noting that their annual sales performance in 2020 was basically at the same level as that in the previous years.
They attributed the rapid recovery of their business mainly to the effective measures taken nationwide to control the COVID-19 and promote fast resumption of work and production.
Li Yifang, a distributor in Taizhou, has realized the change in the way people hold business negotiations in the past more than half a year.
Li used to take flights to meet his clients all over the world to discuss details of agreements, while he has now moved his business talks online.
“Online meeting is efficient and convenient, and it doesn’t mean the negotiators are less sincere than in face-to-face talks,” Li said.
Li has benefited a lot from the model of “Internet plus foreign trade” introduced in Taizhou. The city has been making efforts to reduce the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on various links of foreign trade, and expand market and increase orders for foreign trade firms through ways including holding online exhibitions, meetings, and matchmaking events.
Last year, Taizhou held a total of 47 online exhibitions, and built a special platform for online exhibitions. Gathering more than 600 companies so far, the platform is aimed at serving as a comprehensive exhibition platform that features functions including brand promotion, sale and purchase of global products, and online negotiation.
In addition to adopting new business forms and models, Taizhou has also established a dedicated coordination mechanism and a special working group for exports to ensure overall planning for various affairs concerning exports.
Local authorities in the city have also rolled out multiple measures recently to boost the development of foreign trade by smoothening sales channels, optimizing customs clearance procedures, and improving communications and credit insurance services.
Since various problems hindering distribution of exports have been resolved, goods can be exported successfully from Taizhou, which has effectively facilitated the recent rebound in foreign trade, said many business owners and distributors in the city.