China’s foreign trade passes stress test (China Daily editorial)

The photo shows a view of Nansha Port in Guangzhou, south China’s Guangdong Province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

The emergence of a new wave of the new coronavirus in recent months has led to the lockdown of cities in the regions of the Pearl River and Yangtze River Delta, the two main bases of the country’s manufacturing and export companies. . The resulting suspension of economic activities has raised widespread concerns about the impact on the country’s foreign trade.

But the half-yearly “assessment” published on Wednesday by the General Administration of Customs defied all pessimism.

With a combined value of $2.94 trillion, the country’s foreign trade increased by 9.4% compared to the same period last year, with exports increasing by 13.2% and imports by 4.8%. . In June, after the lifting of citywide shutdowns the previous month, exports rose 17.9% in dollar value, beating the forecasts of most market watchers at home and abroad. .

For those who want proof of the economy’s resilience in an unfavorable international environment, that’s it. China’s foreign trade emerged from a tough stress test with flying colors.

The half-year accounting gave credence to two assumptions that have been frequently questioned of late – that economic fundamentals remain strong and that China remains an indispensable link in global supply chains.

Under the country’s strict “dynamic cleaning” policy for pandemic control, a balance must be struck between virus control and economic activities. The rapid rebound in foreign trade speaks volumes about efforts to find this balance quickly and efficiently. Although it seems that production and business have been hit hard in this process, getting the virus under control in the shortest possible time has laid the foundation for a long-term recovery of production and business.

As production resumed in an orderly fashion after the epidemic situation was brought under control in May, foreign trade rebounded rapidly, by 9.5% in May and 14.3% in June. This may be related to the accumulation of orders placed, and many variables may influence the performance of China’s foreign trade in the second half. But the overall vitality of the economy is beyond doubt.

Equally remarkable is the fact that this happened against the backdrop of the US administration’s efforts to organize the overhaul of supply chains and the “decoupling” of China from the global economy. Trade figures show that foreign demand for Chinese exports remains robust. According to customs data, exports of electrical equipment and materials, integrated circuits and automobiles increased by 24.8%, 16.4% and 51.1% respectively, while those of textiles and clothing, plastic products and footwear increased by 10.8%, 14.9% and 31.4%. Although some US and other major Western importers have sought to divest from China, Chinese exports to the European Union and the US grew by 7.5% and 11.7% respectively.

China’s foreign trade may encounter more overseas non-trade barriers. But with Chinese exporters’ overseas markets expanding and diversifying, trade watchers are generally optimistic about the outlook for the second half.

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