By Du Haitao, Luo Shanshan
China’s foreign trade in goods hit a record of $6.05 trillion the last year, crossing the $5 trillion and $6 trillion marks in the same year after the country reported total imports and exports of over $4 trillion for the first time eight years ago.
Total goods trade went up by $1.4 trillion from a year ago. In yuan terms, the country’s total trade in goods reached 39.1 trillion yuan, expanding 21.4 percent year on year.
“We exported more than 30,000 vehicles the last year, 92 percent more than those in the previous year and hitting a new historical high,” said an executive from Chinese carmaker Jiangling Motors Company based in Nanchang, east China’s Jiangxi province.
According to the executive, Belt and Road countries have grown into an important market for the group. In Chile, the group witnessed a 69-percent year-on-year rise in its market share and a tripling sales volume, the executive said.
China posted steady trade growth with all its major trading partners over the last year, especially Belt and Road countries.
In 2021, the country’s imports and exports with its top five trading partners – ASEAN, the European Union (EU), the U.S., Japan and South Korea stood at 5.67 trillion yuan, 5.35 trillion yuan, 4.88 trillion yuan, 2.4 trillion yuan and 2.34 trillion yuan, respectively, growing 19.7 percent, 19.1 percent, 20.2 percent, 9.4 percent and 18.4 percent year on year.
The trade volume with economies involved in the Belt and Road Initiative reported an increase of 23.6 percent, 2.2 percentage points higher than average trade growth.
The year 2021 marked the 20th anniversary of China’s accession to the WTO. Over the past two decades, China’s trade in goods experienced exponential development. The country’s total foreign trade surged to 39.1 trillion yuan the last year from 4.22 trillion yuan in 2001, with an average annual growth of 12.2 percent.
The quality of China’s foreign trade is also improving steadily, apart from its growing size.
The country further optimized the forms of trade, with general imports and exports accounting for over 60 percent of its total trade volume. Last year, China’s general trade grew 24.7 percent to 24.08 trillion yuan, and the country’s processing trade reached 8.5 trillion yuan, up 11.1 percent.
Both exports and imports of machinery and electronic products maintained sound momentum for growth. Last year, China’s exports of this type of products expanded 20.4 percent to 12.83 trillion yuan, accounting for 59 percent of the country’s total exports. Meanwhile, it imported 7.37 trillion yuan of these products during the same period, up 12.2 percent, which made up 42.4 percent of China’s total imports. The imports of integrated circuits went up by 15.4 percent.
Li Kuiwen, spokesperson of the General Administration of Customs (GAC), attributed the growth of China’s foreign trade in the last year to the country’s leading position in economic development and pandemic response in the global sphere.
He said the Chinese economy maintained a sound momentum of recovery, with a rapid rise in major economic indicators.
The Chinese economy has a strong resilience, and its fundamentals for long-term growth will never change, he noted, adding that domestic production and consumption offered strong support for the stable growth of foreign trade. Last year, the imports and exports of Chinese intermediate products grew 24.9 percent and 28.6 percent, respectively. There was also a 9.9-percent growth in the imports of consumer goods.
Global recovery was another reason for China’s foreign trade growth, the spokesperson said. Both the World Bank and International Monetary Fund set 2021 global growth forecast at over five percent, and the WTO also revised up its forecast for global goods trade growth in 2021 to 10.8 percent.
For this reason, China reported growth rates of over 20 percent in its exports to the EU and Africa the last year, and also witnessed an over-forty-percent surge in its exports to Latin America.
Besides, China’s foreign trade growth also came from the sustained results of China’s policies to stabilize economic growth, Lu said.
“The exports of our nameko products jumped over 50 percent from a year ago and received high reputation in overseas markets thanks to the facilitation measures adopted for the custom clearance of featured agricultural products,” said Cui Guomin, general manager of a food company in northeast China’s Liaoning province.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Chinese players in the cross-border e-commerce sector, taking advantage of online marketing, online transaction and contactless delivery, have proactively nurtured their new competitiveness in international cooperation and competition, and expanded the size of their imports and exports, Li said.
Last year, imports and exports in China’s cross-border e-commerce sector reached 1.98 trillion yuan, up 15 percent, and exports through market procurement trade surged 32.1 percent.