China’s foreign trade maintained robust growth with strong resilience and improved quality in the first three quarters of the year, backed by the country’s steady economic development.

China’s total imports and exports expanded 22.7 percent year on year to 28.33 trillion yuan (about 4.38 trillion U.S. dollars) in the first three quarters of 2021, official data showed Wednesday.

Aerial photo taken on July 13, 2021 shows a container terminal in Jiaxing, east China’s Zhejiang Province. Image: Xinhua

The figure marked an increase of 23.4 percent from the pre-epidemic level in 2019, according to the General Administration of Customs (GAC).

Both exports and imports continued double-digit growth in the first nine months of the year, surging 22.7 percent and 22.6 percent from a year earlier, respectively.

The fundamentals of China’s long-term economic growth have not changed, GAC spokesperson Li Kuiwen told a press conference, noting stable domestic production and consumption demand provided strong support for the growth of China’s foreign trade.

As the pace of the global economy and trade picked up, demand in the international market contributed to China’s foreign trade expansion, Li said, adding that price hikes of international commodities also pushed up China’s imports.

In the January-September period, China’s trade with its top three trading partners — the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the European Union and the United States — maintained sound growth.

Aerial photo taken on July 14, 2020 shows a cargo ship docked at the container terminal of Jingtang Port District under Tangshan Port in Tangshan City, north China’s Hebei Province. Image: Xinhua

During the period, the growth rates of China’s trade value with the three trading partners stood at 21.1 percent, 20.5 percent and 24.9 percent, respectively.

The rapid growth of trade between China and the United States reflects great complementarity in industrial and trade structures as well as the trade potential between the two countries, said Wen Bin, chief analyst at China Minsheng Bank.

China’s trade with countries along the Belt and Road rose 23.4 percent year on year during the same period, while the country’s trade with members of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership climbed 19.3 percent, customs data shows.

In the first three quarters, China’s foreign trade volume increased quarter by quarter and took an increased share in the international market, Li said.

Statistics show that China’s exports and imports accounted for approximately 13.2 percent of the global total in the first half of the year, up 0.8 percentage points over a year earlier.

Private enterprises saw imports and exports increase 28.5 percent to 13.65 trillion yuan in the first nine months, accounting for 48.2 percent of the country’s total.

The imports and exports of state-owned enterprises rose 25.1 percent to 4.35 trillion yuan in the period.

To highlight the improved quality of China’s foreign trade in the first three quarters, Li cited thriving new business forms and modes as well as more coordinated regional development as examples.

The country’s imports and exports in cross-border e-commerce soared 20.1 percent year on year in the period.

The foreign trade of China’s central and western regions surged 27.2 percent year on year, 4.5 percentage points higher than the growth rate for the whole country during the same period.

Li also warned that China’s foreign trade continues to face a number of unstable and uncertain factors as the global economy struggles to recover and the external environment becomes more complicated.

Considering the high base of 2020, China’s foreign trade growth may be slower in the fourth quarter, but the overall positive trend will not change, and the country’s foreign trade is expected to log steady growth throughout the year, Li said. 

XINHUA | BEIJING

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