Review of China’s Foreign Trade in 2021
( The Chinese version shall prevail. )

Review of China’s Foreign Trade in 2021
January 14, 2022

    In 2021, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core responded calmly to major changes and a pandemic both unseen in a century, deepened reform via high-level opening-up and boosted high-quality development. China has been at the forefront of economic development and pandemic response globally, and maintained a rapid growth in foreign trade, which registered a record high in volume and a steady progress in quality. According to Customs statistics, China’s foreign trade volume in goods in 2021 reached RMB39.1 trillion, up by 21.4% than the previous year. Exports grew by 21.2% to RMB21.73 trillion and imports increased by 21.5% to RMB17.37 trillion. China’s total foreign trade, exports, and imports expanded by 23.9%, 26.1% and 21.2%, respectively compared to 2019.
    The details are as follows:
    1. Annual foreign trade in 2021 hit a new high, exceeding USD6 trillion for the first time. In 2021, China's imports and exports denominated in US dollars stood at USD6.05 trillion. In 2013, China's foreign trade reached USD4 trillion for the first time. After 8 years, China's foreign trade exceeded USD5 trillion and then USD6 trillion within the year of 2021, reaching a historical high. The growth volume in 2021 reached USD1.4 trillion, equivalent to the annual foreign trade volume in 2005.
    2. Imports and exports with major trading partners kept steady growth, with foreign trade with countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative growing particularly fast. In 2021, China's trade with its five largest trading partners including ASEAN, the EU, the US, Japan and the ROK reached RMB5.67 trillion, RMB5.35 trillion, RMB4.88 trillion, RMB2.4 trillion and RMB2.34 trillion, up by 19.7%, 19.1%, 20.2%, 9.4% and 18.4%, respectively. Over the same period, China's trade with countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative saw an increase of 23.6%, 2.2 percentage points higher than the overall growth rate.
    3. Trade modes have been further optimized, with general trade volume accounting for over 60%. In 2021, China’s general trade increased by 24.7% to RMB24.08 trillion, accounting for 61.6% of China’s total foreign trade volume, 1.6 percentage points higher than the previous year. Exports grew by 24.4% to RMB13.24 trillion. Imports rose by 25% to RMB10.84 trillion. Processing trade increased by 11.1% to RMB8.5 trillion, accounting for 21.7% of the total foreign trade volume.
    4. Foreign trade entities have been further energized, with private enterprises more active in imports and exports. In 2021, China has 567,000 enterprises with export and import records, an increase of 36,000 year on year. China’s private enterprises registered RMB 19 trillion in imports and exports, an increase of 26.7%, 2 percentage points higher than the previous year, accounting for 48.6% of the country’s total foreign trade volume. Foreign-invested enterprises marked RMB14.03 trillion in imports and exports, up by 12.7%. State-owned enterprises witnessed RMB5.94 trillion in imports and exports, up by 27.7%.
    5. Exports and imports of electro-mechanical products demonstrated good momentum of growth. In 2021, China’s exports of electro-mechanical products grew by 20.4% to RMB12.83 trillion, making up 59% of total exports. Exports of automatic data processing machines and components, mobile phones and motor vehicles increased by 12.9%, 9.3% and 104.6%, respectively. Imports of electro-mechanical products increased by 12.2% to RMB7.37 trillion, accounting for 42.4% of total imports. Imports of integrated circuits grew by 15.4%


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

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