Volume of China’s trade stays stable

BEIJING (China Daily/ANN) - China’s foreign trade volume remained stable in the first three quarters despite its ongoing trade disputes with the United States, customs data showed on Friday.

Trade volume jumped by 9.9 percent year-on-year to 22.28 trillion yuan ($3.22 trillion) in the first three quarters, thanks to the country’s diversified trade activities with emerging economies and the fast growth of trade by private companies, the data showed.

Exports jumped by 6.5 percent year-on-year during the same period to 11.86 trillion yuan, while imports grew by 14.1 percent to 10.42 trillion yuan, resulting in a trade surplus of 1.44 trillion yuan — narrower by 28.3 percent year-on-year, the General Administration of Customs announced.

Li Kuiwen, spokesman for the GAC, said the fast trade growth in the first nine months has laid a solid foundation for the whole year’s performance, and the country has tapped trade opportunities with more countries and regions, especially those related to the Belt and Road Initiative, such as Russia and Poland.

China has also taken measures to improve its export structure, with exports of automobiles expanding by 16.3 percent and machine tools by 18.7 percent, compared with the same period last year, according to the GAC. Exports of electrical-mechanical products rose by 7.8 percent to 6.91 trillion yuan, accounting for 58.3 percent of China’s total export value.

Li said the impact of China’s trade friction with the US on its overall trade situation is controllable.

However, he warned that global trade growth will continue to face challenges, given escalating Sino-US trade friction and other factors caused by a number of economic uncertainties worldwide.

Official data showed that China’s imports of major commodities increased both in volume and price in the first three quarters.

Foreign shipments of crude oil to China increased by 5.9 percent, natural gas by 34 percent, refined oil by 9.8 percent and copper by 16.1 percent between January and September.

The increase in commodity imports indicates that the country’s demand for manufacturing and energy raw materials remains large, said Li Guanghui, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

“The combination of China’s competitive labor costs and international capital and technology since the country’s reform and opening-up drive has helped facilitate the country’s trade growth and strengthen its pricing advantage,” he added. “It has also generated handsome returns for foreign companies through their exporting from China.”

Xin Guobin, vice-minister of industry and information technology, said China will accelerate the pace of developing high-end manufacturing and digital technologies, such as numerical control machines, passenger aircraft and aircraft engines, automobiles and artificial intelligence, to further enhance the country’s exporting capabilities.

Despite external challenges, China’s foreign trade is expected to maintain its momentum this year, since the government already lowered the value-added tax on imports as well as taxes on vehicles and auto parts, medicines and consumer goods earlier this year, said Sang Baichuan, a professor of international trade at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

“The upcoming first China International Import Expo (in Shanghai) in November will also push more goods and service trade deals to be sealed between China and its trade partners,” Sang said.

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