China's foreign trade sustains upward momentum under pressure

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, August 12, 2021

Aerial photo taken on July 13, 2021 shows a container terminal in Jiaxing, east China's Zhejiang Province.  (Photo by Long Wei/Xinhua)

BEIJING, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- China's foreign trade maintained an upward momentum in the first seven months of the year, although uncertainties of global economic recovery have put more pressure on the country's exports.

The country's total imports and exports expanded by 24.5 percent year on  year to 21.34 trillion yuan (about 3.29 trillion U.S. dollars) from  January to July, showed data from the General Administration of Customs  (GAC).

The figures showed the resilience of China's foreign trade, as it recorded  double-digit growth even compared with the pre-pandemic level during the same period in 2019, said GAC official Li Kuiwen.

In July alone, the country's imports and exports rose by 11.5 percent year on year to 3.27 trillion yuan, representing a yearly increase in  China's foreign trade for 14 consecutive months, customs data showed.

However, the figure represented a month-on-month decline of 0.8 percent. It  indicates increasing pressure on exports, said Bai Ming, a researcher  with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce.

New rounds of COVID-19 outbreaks have brought uncertainties to world economic recovery, analysts said.

In Southeast Asia, one of the world's major manufacturing bases, countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia have been affected  by the pandemic. Lockdown measures in some countries have led to  increasing port congestion.

"Our products could not go out, and freight prices are on the rise all the  time," said Dong Lili, deputy general manager of the marketing center of Zhejiang Wanma Macromolecule Materials Co., Ltd.

The company's macromolecule materials for cables are mainly sold to the  Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Middle East, and South  America. Ninety-five percent of these materials are shipped by sea.

High raw material prices, continuously rising logistics costs, and  fluctuations in the RMB exchange rate also posed challenges to foreign  trade enterprises, said Bai.

With increasing vaccination rates and gradual restoration of productivity  worldwide, foreign countries have become less dependent on China's  production capacity, said Bai.

It is also one of the reasons for the decline of exports, Bai said.

But these challenges have not dampened the vitality of China's foreign trade.

In the first seven months, imports and exports of private enterprises rose by 31 percent year on year, accounting for 47.9 percent of the  country's total. It is up by 2.4 percentage points year on year.

Positec Technology (China) Co., Ltd., which produces electrical tools, received 30 percent more orders in July compared to June.

The company's major customers in the United States increased by about 32  percent, and those in Europe increased by about 28 percent as foreign  customers stocked up in advance for Black Friday and the Christmas  season.

Chinese foreign trade enterprises have also embraced changes to seize development opportunities.

While continuing to transport products through sea shipping, Positec  Technology (China) Co., Ltd. also sent products to Europe through  China-Europe freight train services in April this year. The company has  also been actively developing its cross-border e-commerce business.

Facing challenges and uncertainties from the pandemic, Chinese foreign trade companies remained cautiously optimistic.

Dong sees opportunities to introduce cable materials from Zhejiang Wanma  Macromolecule Materials Co., Ltd. into the relatively exclusive foreign  market and expects these exports to rise slightly throughout the year.

Tu Xinquan, a professor at the University of International Business and  Economics, said China's role in maintaining the stability of global  industrial and supply chains is irreplaceable.

The risks and challenges currently facing China's foreign trade generally  come from outside. It is forcing foreign trade enterprises to accelerate transformation and upgrading, seize the opportunity of the global  industrial chain and supply chain reconstruction, and grasp the  development trend of new business in foreign trade, said Tu.

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