China’s 2022 foreign trade at record-high US$6.3T

China’s 2022 foreign trade at record-high US$6.3T

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China’s 2022 foreign trade at record-high US$6.3T
Image by 琛茜 蒋 from Pixabay
  • Annual foreign trade value at record high again in 2022, as China works to better coordinate epidemic response with economic and social development amid what officials describe as complex and severe domestic and international situations
  • Total goods trade reached 42.07 trillion yuan (US$6.3 trillion), up 7.7% year-on-year, topping the world for six consecutive years
  • The figure exceeded 40 trillion yuan for the first time, says the General Administration of Customs
  • Officials and analysts say China should be watchful of cooling global demand and the yet-to-be-consolidated domestic recovery

China’s annual foreign trade value hit a record high again in 2022, as the country works to better coordinate epidemic response with economic and social development amid complex and severe domestic and international situations, Xinhua reported, citing official data.

Total goods trade reached 42.07 trillion yuan (US$6.3 trillion, up 7.7% year on year and topping the world for six consecutive years, according to China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC). The figure exceeded 40 trillion yuan for the first time, said the GAC.

In US dollar terms, the trade value increased 4.4% over the previous year to US$6.31 trillion, GAC data showed.

Exports rose 10.5% to 23.97 trillion yuan, and imports went up 4.3% to 18.1 trillion yuan.

China’s foreign trade delivered breakthroughs in scale, quality, and efficiency last year, a hard-won feat considering headwinds in demand, supply, and expectations, GAC spokesperson Lyu Daliang was reported as saying.

In 2022, China rolled out policies dynamically to bolster growth, including that of foreign trade.

The package of policies and follow-up measures to shore up economic recovery have paid off, unleashing the vitality of trade entities, said Lyu.

Foreign trade by private firms jumped 12.9% to account for 50.9% of the total, crossing the 50% mark for the first time, GAC data showed.

Private companies are flexible and adaptable, Zhuang Rui, a professor at the University of International Business and Economics, was quoted by Xinhua as saying. They have put these advantages to good use to expand markets and upgrade businesses to guard against lukewarm external demand and exchange rate fluctuations, he said.

China’s vast export market and competitive edge in manufacturing also contributed to the trade growth, said Lyu. The country takes up 14.7% of the global export market, leading the world for 14th consecutive year, the data showed.

The country’s imports and exports with ASEAN, the European Union, and the United States account for 15%, 5.6%, and 3.7%, respectively. Trade with Belt and Road countries climbed 19.4% to make up 32.9% of China’s total foreign trade, while trade with other members of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) rose 7.5%.

Xinhua said new drivers are taking hold, as China saw more than 60% export hikes in green products, including solar batteries, lithium-ion batteries, and electric vehicles, Lyu said. Imports as a whole were underpinned by steady overall growth, he said.

In the January-November 2022 period, China fixed-asset investment, industrial output, and online retail sales grew, among others, official data showed.

China’s foreign trade resilience in recent years was due to an ever-improving trade structure, supply chain strengths and targeted policy support, and has contributed to overall growth, analysts have said.

Going into 2023, officials and analysts said China should be watchful of cooling global demand amid recession fears and the yet-to-be-consolidated domestic recovery.

The World Bank on Tuesday downgraded its 2023 global economic growth forecast to 1.7%, the third-weakest pace in nearly three decades. It said the global trade volume will grow 1.6% this year, down 2.7 percentage points from its projections last June.

A December report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development estimated global trade in 2022 at a record $32 trillion. But a slowdown since h2 2022 is expected to worsen in 2023 as geopolitical tensions and tight financial conditions persist, UNCTAD cautioned.

“While we acknowledge potential challenges, we should also see that China’s economy is likely to rebound this year, and we should strengthen confidence to further bolster foreign trade,” Lyu was quoted by Xinhua.

China has pledged improved efforts to maintain the stability of foreign trade, upgrade its trade structure, and develop new international economic and trade cooperation fronts in 2023, according to the tone-setting annual Central Economic Work Conference last December.

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