Review of China’s Foreign Trade in 2020
( The Chinese version shall prevail. )


Review of China’s Foreign Trade in 2020

General Administration of Customs

People’s Republic of China

January 14, 2021


In 2020, China faced grave and complex domestic and international landscape and severe impact posed by COVID-19. Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, China was the only major economy that realized positive economic growth in the year, with its foreign trade beating expectations and registering a historical high.

According to Customs statistics, China’s foreign trade volume in goods of 2020 reached RMB32.16 trillion, up by 1.9% than the previous year. Exports grew by 4% to RMB17.93 trillion and imports declined by 0.7% to RMB14.23 trillion. The trade surplus increased by 27.4% to RMB3.7 trillion.

The details are as follows:

1.     Foreign trade reached a historical high.

World economy and trade have taken a strong hit in 2020 and China faced a severely complex external environment for foreign trade. In spite of the challenges, China's foreign trade has rapidly rebounded and steadily grown, displaying its great resilience and comprehensive competitiveness. From June, 2020, China registered a positive growth in foreign trade for seven consecutive months and hit a record high in total foreign trade volume, exports and the international market share, becoming the only major economy with positive growth of trade in goods in the year. Chinas role as the worlds largest trader in goods has been further consolidated. According to data from the WTO and countries around the world, Chinas exports, imports and the two combined have accounted for 14.2%, 11.5% and 12.8% of the international market, all reaching a historical high.

2. Foreign trade entities have been further energized.

In 2020, China has 531,000 enterprises with exports and imports' record, an increase of 6.2% year on year. Chinas private sector registered RMB 14.98 trillion in imports and exports, an increase of 11.1%, accounting for 46.6% of the countrys total foreign trade volume, 3.9 percentage points higher than the previous year. The private sector played an important part in stabilizing foreign trade, further consolidating its role as the major foreign trade entities. Foreign-invested enterprises marked RMB12.44 trillion in foreign trade, taking up 38.7% of the countrys total foreign trade volume. State-owned enterprises witnessed RMB4.61 trillion in imports and exports, accounting for 14.3% of the total foreign trade volume.

3. Trading partners become diverse.

In 2020, trade with five major trading partners including ASEAN, EU, US, Japan and ROK reached RMB4.74 trillion, RMB4.5 trillion, RMB4.06 trillion, RMB2.2 trillion and RMB1.97 trillion, up by 7%, 5.3%, 8.8%, 1.2% and 0.7%, respectively. Trade with countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative reached RMB9.37 trillion, an increase of 1%.

4. Trade modes have been continuously optimized.

In 2020, general trade increased by 3.4% to RMB19.25 trillion, accounting for 59.9% of Chinas total foreign trade volume, 0.9 percentage points higher than the previous year. Exports grew by 6.9% to RMB10.65 trillion. Imports fell by 0.7% to RMB8.6 trillion. Processing trade dropped by 3.9% to RMB7.64 trillion, accounting for 23.8% of the total foreign trade volume.

5. Exports of traditionally competitive products kept growing.

In 2020, exports of electro-mechanical products increased by 6% to RMB10.66 trillion, taking up 59.4% of the countrys total exports, 1.1 percentage points higher year on year. Exports of laptops, home appliances and medical equipment went up by 20.4% , 24.2% and 41.5%, respectively. At the same time, exports of seven categories of labor-intensive products including textiles and clothes rose by 6.2% to RMB3.58 trillion. Exports of textile products including face masks surged by 30.4% to RMB1.07 trillion.

6. Exports of anti-epidemic supplies provided strong support for the global combat against COVID-19.

China has been playing its role as the worlds largest supplier of anti-epidemic materials by carrying out international cooperation against the COVID-19 pandemic, and making utmost efforts in providing and exporting anti-epidemic materials for over 200 countries and regions. From March to December, 2020, China Customs cleared major anti-epidemic supplies that is worth RMB438.5 billion, showing Chinas commitment as a responsible major country to the fight against COVID-19 worldwide. Meanwhile, products of stay-at-home economy grew by 8.5% to RMB2.51 trillion, meeting the needs of people across the globe living and working at home during the pandemic.

In 2020, China made outstanding achievements in foreign trade, which did not come easy amid the unprecedented challenges. This is the result of the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, which speaks volumes for the resilience and vitality of China's foreign trade. China Customs also played its part with relentless efforts. Over the past year, we firmly implemented the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, carried out the work in a timely and pragmatic manner, stabilized foreign trade growth by introducing a number of policies while preventing and controlling cross-border spreading of COVID-19, strengthened control and improved service, ensuring stable and high quality foreign trade.

In 2021, the world is faced with uncertainties brought by the pandemic and global landscape. The world economic situation is still grave and complex, posing uncertainties and instabilities to foreign trade growth.

China Customs will follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, implement the spirit of the 19th CPC National Congress, the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th plenary sessions of the 19th CPC Central Committee and the Central Economic Work Conference, and adhere to the principle of seeking progress while ensuring stability. China Customs will stick to the new development philosophy and foster the new development paradigm in the new development stage, ensure stability on the six fronts and security in the six areas, strengthen control and improve service, continuously optimize the business environment at ports to strive for higher-level opening-up and quality development of foreign trade. China Customs will contribute to a good start of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) in the development of foreign trade and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC with great achievements.


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

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