China's foreign trade rises by 2.8% in first three quarters of 2019
China's foreign trade maintained stable growth in the first three quarters of 2019 with a total trade volume of 22.91 trillion yuan, expanding 2.8 percent year-on-year, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said on Monday.
Exports rose by 5.2 percent to 12.48 trillion yuan and imports dropped by 0.1 percent to 10.43 trillion yuan. The trade surplus expanded by 44.2 percent to 2.05 trillion yuan.
China's trade with the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reached 3.57 trillion and 3.14 trillion yuan respectively, registering an increase of 8.6 percent and 11.5 percent respectively. Trade with the U.S. dropped 10.3 percent to 2.75 trillion yuan.
''First, our ordinary trade has now become increasingly dominant, as it rose 4.8 percent, taking up nearly 60 percent of our total trade. Second is that the private sector is gaining more vitality, with trade values growing by over 10 percent year on year. Exports of electro-mechanical items, electronics, and labor-intensive products enjoyed strong performances as well,'' said Li Kuiwen, spokesperson at General Administration of Customs, China.
With the China-U.S. trade frictions still ongoing, bilateral trade suffered a setback, falling by over 10 percent in the first three quarters. While Chinese exports to the U.S. dropped 6 percent, imports slumped nearly a quarter percent.
The European Union and ASEAN are China's the top two trading partners from January to September. The U.S. took the third spot. But this hasn't changed the overall trade picture, as Beijing is seeking to diversify its trading markets.
In 2018, China became a major trading partner for more than 120 countries and regions worldwide.
''In the first three quarters, China carried out a new round of high-quality opening-up. Trade with the European Union and ASEAN countries increased by 8.6 percent and 11.5 percent, respectively. Trade with countries along the 'Belt and Road' grew by 9.5 percent, now taking up nearly 30 percent of the total foreign trade. Trade with African countries also gained 7.5 percent,'' Li Kuiwen added.
The spokesperson says customs authorities are speeding up international cooperation with other countries, especially along the Belt and Road route, to create what's called smart customs to further simplify inspection and quarantine procedures.
Imports and exports of private enterprises grew by 10.4 percent to 9.96 trillion yuan, making up 42.3 percent of the total trade, or 2.9 percentage points higher than last year.
The country saw a jump in the import of pork and beef. Pork imports rose by 43.6 percent to 1.326 million tonnes, and beef import increased by 53.4 percent to 1.132 million tonnes.
Growth of major bulk commodity imports
GAC's data also showed a robust growth of major bulk commodity imports. China's imports of crude oil climbed 9.7 percent year on year to 369 million tonnes during the period. Coal imports increased 9.5 percent year on year to 251 million tonnes.
A total of 71.22 million tonnes of natural gas were imported during the period, up 10 percent from one year earlier.
However, iron ore imports during the period declined 2.4 percent to 784 million tonnes. Soybean imports also went down 7.9 percent year on year to 64.51 million tonnes.