Sober, objective, comprehensive and accurate understanding of the foreign trade development situation


According to customs data, the first two months of this year, China's foreign trade import and export value of 6.18 trillion yuan, down 0.8% year-on-year. As the world's largest country in goods trade, China's foreign trade growth rate has always been a topic of great concern, and the sudden negative growth at the beginning of the year naturally caused widespread concern at home and abroad. In fact, from different angles of analysis, interpretation of this data, you can draw different conclusions.

First, the analysis of the growth rate of foreign trade in the current period, should also take into account the base period factors. At the beginning of last year, China's foreign trade growth rate was fast and the base was large, and from January to February 2022, the total import and export of goods in China was 6.2 trillion yuan, up 13.3% year-on-year. On the basis of high growth in the same period last year to further enhance the scale of foreign trade, growth rate, the difficulty will naturally increase accordingly.

Second, the analysis of foreign trade growth rate to take into account many factors at home and abroad. Foreign trade is a barometer of international political and economic relations, in the context of the current unprecedented changes in the century, the Black Swan emergencies occur frequently, uncertainty increases, trade fluctuations become the new normal. In recent years, the epidemic cycle repeated for three years, the Russia-Ukraine conflict has turned into a protracted war, coupled with individual countries artificial "broken chain decoupling", the international industry chain supply chain suffered abnormal deterrence, distortion. Especially affected by the ups and downs of the epidemic and the epidemic prevention policies of various countries, the growth rate of China's foreign trade grew from 3.4% in 2019, 1.9% in 2020, to 21.4% in 2021, 7.7% in 2022, until -0.8% in the first two months of this year, from double-digit high growth to a sharp decline in negative numbers, the growth rate is like a roller coaster of dramatic changes. But in the long run, China's foreign trade negative growth is only a short-lived accident, the overall trend is still rising, the pace or fast or slow, once the preconditions of unexpected events disappear, and will return to the upward channel.

Third, the international market commodity prices fluctuate significantly will also affect the scale of trade, growth rate. In recent years, the international market for primary products, commodity prices change frequently and dramatically, last year was still high, the beginning of this year, a sharp pullback, trade is not equal, will directly pull down the growth rate of foreign trade. According to Beijing's foreign trade statistics, the average price of its crude oil and LNG imports rose by about 50% in 2022, pulling the value of imports up by about 30% to 50% accordingly, with the two together accounting for 53% of the total value of regional imports in the same period. During the same period, the average price of Beijing's refined oil exports rose by about 77%, driving a corresponding increase of about 45% in the value of exports, accounting for 33% of the total value of Beijing's exports. As a major importer of primary products and bulk commodities, the significant drop in their prices is instead a major benefit. Under the condition of equivalent imports, the decrease in trade value and trade growth rate due to the drop in import value precisely means the improvement of foreign trade efficiency.

Fourth, the evaluation of foreign trade performance, in addition to the size, growth rate indicators, should also examine the market, commodity structure, as well as quality and efficiency changes. Generally speaking, the more diversified the country / regional market, the greater the market dispersion and uniformity, the better the stability and sustainability of trade. In the first two months of this year, China's exports to ASEAN, Japan and South Korea were 570 billion yuan, 183.56 billion yuan and 165.22 billion yuan, an increase of 17.9%, 6.7% and 10.2%; to the "Belt and Road" countries along the import and export 2.12 trillion yuan, an increase of 10.1%, of which to Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia import and export year-on-year growth of 30.3%, 15% and 12.8% respectively; to other RCEP member countries combined import and export 1.91 trillion yuan, an increase of 3.1%. Most of the above countries / regions belong to the emerging markets, in the traditional country / region market share decline at the same time can be counter-trend growth, in a sense is the success of China's market diversification strategy, the East does not light up the West, indicating that China's trade stability, resilience in enhancing. In terms of foreign trade commodity structure, in recent years, the rapid growth of China's high-tech product exports, increasing market share, the first two months of this year, electric vehicles, lithium batteries, solar cells three products combined export growth of 60%, foreign trade commodity structure is increasingly optimized.

Therefore, for the current temporary decline in China's foreign trade growth, we should have a sober, objective, comprehensive and accurate understanding, not only to see the challenges faced, the enormity of the difficulties, but also to analyze the root causes of the problem, take effective measures to address both the symptoms and root causes, turning crises into opportunities. As a researcher of China's foreign trade and trade promotion work, the author puts forward the following suggestions from the perspective of trade promotion work:

First, to strengthen the industrial base of trade development. In accordance with the strategic plan of the CCPIT party group, accelerate the work of trade promotion focus forward, from trade, investment promotion gradually to industrial development to promote the expansion of the field, guide enterprises to take the road of scientific and technological innovation, increase investment in research and development, strengthen international cooperation in science and technology, enhance the technological content of products; guide enterprises to take the road of standardization, branding, international development, improve product quality and added value, enhance the core competitiveness of enterprises.

Second, firmly implement the market diversification strategy. Adhere to the simultaneous development of domestic and international markets, and accelerate the formation of a new pattern of domestic and international double cycle. Externally, we focus on telling the Chinese story, clarifying individual foreign media's misinterpretation of me, trying to resolve the West's misunderstanding of me, establishing a broad international business united front, and consolidating the traditional developed markets. At the same time, actively help enterprises to develop ASEAN, the Middle East, Central Asia, South America, Africa, Russia and other emerging markets, forming a new situation of balanced development of traditional markets and emerging markets. Internally, actively promote the country to further optimize consumption policies, promote the balanced development of the East, Central and Western regions, and improve the consumption capacity of the Central and Western regions; vigorously promote the China Council for the Promotion of Trade President Ren Hongbin advocated the "three chess", give full play to the strength of the national trade promotion system, and promote the integrated development of domestic and foreign trade.

Third, to further improve the trade promotion service system. Accelerate the global layout of the trade promotion network, effectively play the role of multi-bilateral business cooperation mechanism in the work of trade promotion; further enhance the relevance and effectiveness of financial services, information services, platform services, in particular, to give full play to the role of the special class of foreign investment services, to provide foreign enterprises with quality services throughout the industrial chain, enhance the confidence of foreign enterprises operating in China, to maintain the stability of the main body of trade of foreign enterprises, to stabilize foreign investment and We should make new contributions to stabilize foreign investment and foreign trade. (The author is Vice President of CCPIT Research Institute)

Source: China Trade News Author:Liu Yingkui

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