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Chinese trade momentum expected to continue

China’s foreign trade, including imports and exports, has witnessed rapid growth since the beginning of the year, and the boom could continue through the second half, said Liang Ming, director of the institute of international trade at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, an institution affiliated with the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing, People’s Daily reported.

“The recently concluded 123rd session of the Canton FairĀ on May 5 received over 200,000 traders, a growth of 5.3 percent compared with the previous year, the largest number in the past five years,” the director said. Accumulated export turnover for the fair registered at 189.197 billion yuan ($29.15 billion), a growth of 3.1 percent, topping annual Spring Canton Fair volume since 2014.

The Canton Fair, also known as the China Import and Export Fair, is the country’s largest trade fair and considered a barometer of China’s foreign trade. “The fifth-time ‘double-growth’ in traders and export turnover has sent out positive signs for the second half,” Liang said.

According to Liang, China’s foreign trade witnessed high growth through May this year.

The country’s total imports and exports reached $1.8 trillion through May, up 16.8 percent year-on-year. The value of exports was $957.06 billion, up 13.3 percent on a yearly basis. Imports were $857.39 billion, a 21 percent increase from a year earlier. China’s foreign trade growth this year is the highest in seven years, judging from the growth rate of foreign trade in the first five months of previous years.

“China’s foreign trade structure was also optimized,” Liang said.

The country’s general trade exports totaled $542.43 billion through May, accounting for 56.7 percent of China’s total exports in the same period, an increase of 2.7 percentage points year-on-year.

The value of general trade imports was $534.95 billion, taking up 61.2 percent of China’s total imports and up 1.1 percentage points on a yearly basis.

In terms of trade goods, the export volume of China’s electromechanical products in the first five months was $563.27 billion, accounting for 58.9 percent of China’s total export volume, a growth of 1.6 percentage points over the same period last year.

The export volume of labor-intensive products was $176.19 billion, taking up 18.4 percent of China’s total exports, down 1.9 percentage points on a yearly basis.

Import of some important equipment, key parts and components and high-quality consumer goods increased rapidly in the January-May period, Liang said. For instance, the import of integrated circuits, electromechanical products and high-tech products increased by 35.8 percent, 23.3 percent and 25 percent respectively.

The vigorous growth of energy and resources product imports has satisfied domestic market demand and eased resource constraints in economic development. Imports of crude oil, iron ore, refined oil and copper and other commodities have maintained swift growth, increasing by 8 percent, 0.7 percent, 12.4 percent and 16.7 percent respectively.

“The country’s foreign trade is more balanced,” Liang noted. China’s import volume grew faster than its export volume, with $102.81 billion favorable balance of trade in goods, down 29.1 percent from the same period last year, indicating a more open Chinese market to the world.

“The vigorous growth of China’s imports and exports is the result of many beneficial factors,” the director said. The recovering world economy, stable Chinese economy, certain supporting policies, the Belt and Road Initiative, dynamic emerging markets and enterprises’ determination for opening up all contributed.

The World Trade Organization raised 2018 global trade growth expectations from 3.2 percent to 4.4 percent in its latest report on global trade statistics and outlook, much higher than the annual 3 percent growth after the international financial crisis in 2008.

Thus, the director believes an increase of China’s foreign trade will make a significant contribution to the global trade market.

Liang also suggested freer and more convenient trade and investment in China, maintaining a multilateral trading system and promoting new forms and models of trade. Expanding imports while maintaining exports, especially importing featured products for the public, are also key to building a coordinated and sustainable trade system in China, the director added.

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