Govt sees steady trade growth in 2019

Huang Yixuan
China's foreign trade in goods surged better than expected to a record high last year.
Huang Yixuan

China's foreign trade in goods surged faster than expected to a record high last year and the outlook remains positive against a backdrop of further opening-up and supportive government policies, the Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday.

China, the world's second largest economy, is the world's largest trader in goods and total imports and exports grew 9.7 percent to 30.5 trillion yuan last year, or up by 12.6 percent to US$4.6 trillion in dollar terms.

Trade with the countries along the Belt and Road rose to 27.4 percent of the total. The proportion of imports and exports in the central and western regions increased to 15.8 percent, the proportion of exports of mechanical and electrical products increased to 58.7 percent.

The private sector accounted for 48 percent of total exports, making it the largest single source of exports, the ministry said.

And the country has continued to push foreign trade growth and improve the business environment to encourage the development of new businesses.

China set up 22 new new comprehensive pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce and launched six trial projects for market procurement last year.

China's foreign trade has played an important role in the development of the global economy and trade. According to World Trade Organization statistics, China's share of global imports increased by 0.7 percentage points to 10.9 percent in the first three quarters of 2018, and the country's contribution to global import growth was 16.8 percent.

In particular, last year's inaugural China International Import Expo provided new opportunities for countries and regions around the world to expand exports to China and injected new impetus into world economic growth.

"Looking ahead, despite the complex environment, we still see many favorable factors for the stable development of foreign trade in 2019," said senior ministry official Chu Shijia.

The world economy is expected to continue its slow recovery, despite downward pressures.

And China's continued opening-up, supportive trade policies, acceleration of upgrading industry and enhancing business vitality will provide strong support for the country's foreign trade development, Chu said. 

In terms of transnational direct investment, global transnational direct investment fell 19 percent in 2018 from a year earlier — the third consecutive annual decline and hitting the lowest level since the global financial crisis, according to a recent report by UNCTAD, the UN Conference on Trade and Development.

China's actual use of foreign capital last year was US$134.97 billion, an increase of 3 percent over 2017, achieving the goal of stabilizing foreign investment in line with the government's efforts to promote the optimization of the investment environment and structure, said Tang Wenhong, director of the ministry's department of foreign investment administration. 

"In 2019, the Ministry of Commerce will continue to relax market access and will constantly strengthen the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors to create a world-class environment for foreign investment," Tang said.

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