Positive policies and opening-up fire trade growth

China has confidence in its ability to maintain stable trade growth in 2019 thanks to a raft of positive factors, a senior commerce official said on Tuesday.

China has confidence in its ability to maintain stable trade growth in 2019 thanks to a raft of positive factors, a senior commerce official said on Tuesday.

“Looking ahead, despite the complex environment, we still see many favorable factors for the stable development of foreign trade in 2019,” Chu Shijia, head of the comprehensive department of the Ministry of Commerce, told a conference.

The gradual recovery of the global economy, China’s opening-up efforts and pro-trade policies, accelerating industrial upgrading and improving corporate vitality will lend strong steam to the country’s trade growth this year, Chu said.

The ministry’s data showed China’s foreign trade in goods surged faster than expected to a record high last year.

The country’s goods trade totaled US$4.6 trillion last year, up 12.6 percent year on year, faster than that of major trading nations. It made China the world’s largest trader in goods.

The country also saw improving trade structure last year, with growing trade with Belt and Road countries, more high-end exports and accelerating imports growth.

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

The world’s second-largest economy set up 22 new comprehensive pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce and launched six trial projects for market procurement last year.

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.

Chu also revealed that goods trade continued the upward growth momentum in January.

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 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 from 2017, achieving the goal of stabilizing foreign investment in line with the government’s efforts to promote the optimization of the investment environment, 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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