Review of China’s Foreign Trade in the First Half of 2019

                                                                                                        ( The Chinese version shall prevail. )


Review of China’s Foreign Trade in the First Half of 2019


General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China

July 12, 2019


According to Customs statistics, China’s foreign trade volume in the first half of 2019 stood at RMB14.67 trillion, up by 3.9% year-on-year (similarly hereinafter). Exports rose by 6.1% to RMB7.95 trillion and imports grew by 1.4% to RMB6.72 trillion. The trade surplus increased by 41.6% to RMB 1.23 trillion.

The details are as follows.

1. Ordinary trade increased in volume and proportion. It rose by 5.5% to RMB8.78 trillion, taking up 59.9% of the total trade, 0.9 percentage points higher than the previous year. Exports went up 9.5% to RMB4.67 trillion and imports went up 1.4% to RMB4.11 trillion. The composition of trade regimes continues to improve.

2. Imports and exports with major trading partners such as EU, ASEAN and Japan increased. Trade with EU stood at RMB2.3 trillion, an increase of 11.2%, accounting for 15.7% of the total trade. Trade with ASEAN arrived at RMB1.98 trillion, up by 10.5%, taking up 13.5% of the total trade. Trade with the U.S. registered RMB1.75 trillion, down by 9%, accounting for 12% of the total trade. Trade with Japan totaled RMB1.03 trillion, up by 1.7%, accounting for 7% of the total trade.

3. Trade with countries involved in the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) outpaced the total trade. Imports and exports with BRI countries reached RMB4.24 trillion, an increase of 9.7%, 5.8 percentage points higher than the overall trade growth, accounting for 28.9% of the total trade (1.5 percentage points higher than last year). Imports and exports with Russia, Saudi Arabia and Egypt went up by 11.5%, 34% and 11%, respectively. Trade growth with BRI countries figures increasingly prominently in China’s foreign trade.

4. Imports and exports made by private sector increased in volume and proportion. Private enterprises made RMB6.12 trillion of imports and exports in the first half of the year, an increase of 11%, accounting for 41.7% of the total trade, 2.7 percentage points higher than last year. Exports stood at RMB4.02 trillion, up by 13.3%, accounting for 50.6% of total exports; imports reached RMB2.1 trillion, an increase of 6.8%, taking up 31.2% of total imports. Foreign-invested enterprises marked RMB5.92 trillion of foreign trade, down by 1%, accounting for 40.4% of the total trade. State-owned enterprises witnessed RMB2.57 trillion of imports and exports, up by 0.3%, taking up 17.5% of total trade.

5. Trade in central and western regions outpaced total trade and the development was better coordinated among different regions. Trade in 12 western provinces and municipalities grew by 14%, 10.1 percentage points higher than the overall trade. Trade in 6 central provinces went up 8.1%, higher than the overall trade by 4.2 percentage points. Trade in 3 northeastern provinces rose by 0.7% and that in 10 eastern provinces and municipalities grew by 2.8%.

6. Exports of both electro-mechanical products and labor-intensive products increased. Electro-mechanical exports increased by 5.3% to RMB4.63 trillion, taking up 58.2% of total exports. Exports of portable computers, electronic passenger automobiles and solar cells rose by 11.4%, 91.9% and 57.1%, respectively. Total exports of seven types of labor-intensive products such as textiles and clothes grew by 7% to RMB1.5 trillion, accounting for 18.8% of the country’s overall exports.

7. Imports of major bulk commodities such as crude oil and coal grew, while imports of iron ore and soybeans dropped. In the first half of 2019, China imported 245 million tons of crude oil, up by 8.8%; 154 million tons of coal, up by 5.8%; 46.92 million tons of natural gas, up by 11.6%; 499 million tons of iron ore, down by 5.9%; 38.27 million tons of soybeans, down by 14.7%.

In general, China’s foreign trade in the first half of 2019 made steady progress and achieved quality development. Despite challenges arising from the complex global environment, the country’s foreign trade is still dominated by enduring improvement. Trade structure continues to optimize and the driving forces are shifting faster.

China Customs, guided by Xi Jinping’s Thoughts on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, will follow the guideline of “seeking progress in stability” in line with the 19th CPC National Congress, the second and the third plenary sessions of the 19th CPC Central Committee. It will implement the requirements to “stabilize employment, financial sector, foreign trade, foreign capital, investment and expectations”. It will continue to “streamline administration, delegate powers and optimize services”. It will work hard continuously to promote trade facilitation and contribute to the steadiness and quality of the foreign trade.



General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China

Address: No.6. Jianguomennei Avenue, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China        Postcode: 100730