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SCIO briefing on China's import and export performance in H1 2021

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Speaker:

Li Kuiwen, spokesperson of the General Administration of Customs (GACC) and director of the Department of Statistics & Analysis of the General Administration of Customs 

Chairperson:

Shou Xiaoli, deputy head of the Press Bureau of the State Council Information Office (SCIO) and SCIO spokesperson

Date:

July 13, 2021


Shou Xiaoli:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning! Welcome to this press conference from the State Council Information Office (SCIO). This is a routine press conference on China's annual economic standing. Today, we are delighted to be joined by Mr. Li Kuiwen, spokesperson of the General Administration of Customs (GACC) and director of the Department of Statistics & Analysis of the General Administration of Customs, who will introduce China's import and export performance in the first half of 2021 and answer your questions.

We will first invite Mr. Li Kuiwen to give a brief introduction.

Li Kuiwen:

Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the media, good morning! It's a great pleasure to meet with you at today's press conference. I'll begin by introducing China's import and export performance in the first half of 2021, and then answer your questions.

In the first half of this year, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, China continued to consolidate its achievements in coordinating epidemic control with economic and social development. Foreign trade continued its stable and sound performance and registered a historical high. According to statistics from the GACC, China's total foreign trade expanded 27.1% year on year to 18.07 trillion yuan (about $2.79 trillion) in the first half of the year. Exports grew by 28.1% to 9.85 trillion yuan, while imports increased by 25.9% to 8.22 trillion yuan. Compared with the same period in 2019, foreign trade, exports and imports increased by 22.8%, 23.8%, and 21.7% respectively. Specifically, there were six main features which I will outline now

First, imports and exports have continued to increase year on year for 13 consecutive months. In June, the country's imports and exports went up 22% year on year to 3.29 trillion yuan, marking a positive growth for the 13th month in a row since June of 2020.

Second, China's trade with its main trading partners maintained sound growth. In the first half of the year, China's trade with its top three trading partners, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the European Union, and the United States, stood at 2.66 trillion, 2.52 trillion, and 2.21 trillion yuan, up 27.8%, 26.7%, and 34.6% respectively. Meanwhile, trade with Japan reached 1.18 trillion yuan, an increase of 14.5%. During the same period, China's trade with countries along the Belt and Road rose 27.5% year on year while trade with countries of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership grew 22.7% year on year.

Third, China's general trade grew rapidly. In the first half of the year, China's general trade stood at 11.19 trillion yuan, an increase of 30.7%, accounting for 61.9% of the country's total foreign trade value, an increase of 1.7 percentage points over the same period last year. Meanwhile, exports reached 6.02 trillion yuan, up 32.1%, while imports reached 5.17 trillion yuan, up 29.2%. During the same period, the imports and exports of processing trade climbed 15.8% to 3.89 trillion yuan, accounting for 21.5%.

Fourth, the main role of the private sector has been consolidated. In the first half of the year, the imports and exports of the country's private businesses reached 8.64 trillion yuan, an increase of 35.1%, which accounted for 47.8% of the total foreign trade value, up 2.8 percentage points over the same period last year. It continued to rank as China's biggest foreign trade entity. In the same period, the imports and exports of foreign-invested enterprises marked 6.61 trillion yuan, an increase of 19%; while state-owned enterprises accumulated 2.75 trillion yuan in imports and exports, an increase of 23.8%.

Fifth, the proportion of exports of electromechanical products has increased. In the first half of the year, China's exports of electromechanical products increased by 29.5% to 5.83 trillion yuan, making up 59.2% of the total exports, and increasing 0.6 percentage points year on year. Exports of automatic data processing equipment and its parts, mobile phones, and automobiles increased by 17%, 23.3%, and 101.4%. In the same period, exports of labor-intensive products increased by 17.1%, and pharmaceutical materials and medicines increased by 93.6%.

Sixth, imports of iron ore, natural gas and other bulk commodities increased. In the first half of the year, China imported 561 million tons of iron ore, up 2.6%; 59.82 million tons of natural gas, up 23.8%; 48.96 million tons of soybeans, up 8.7%; 15.3 million tons of corn, up 318.5%; and 5.37 million tons of wheat, up 60.1%. During the same period, imports of crude oil stood at 261 million tons, down by 3%.

Generally speaking, in the first half of the year, China's foreign trade has stayed on an upward trajectory since the latter half of last year, with a relatively rapid growth rate, laying a solid foundation for the steady and high-quality growth of foreign trade throughout the whole year. China Customs will follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and implement the spirit of the speech made by General Secretary Xi Jinping at the ceremony celebrating the CPC's centenary. China Customs will stick to its new development philosophy and foster a new development paradigm in the new development stage; ensure the six priorities and stability in six areas (employment, finance, foreign trade, foreign investment, domestic investment, and market expectations); and strive to achieve higher-level opening-up and quality development of foreign trade. GACC will contribute to ensure a good start of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) in the development of foreign trade.

Next, I'll be answering your questions.

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