Review of China’s Foreign Trade in the First Half of 2021
General Administration of Customs
People's Republic of China
July 13, 2021
( The Chinese version shall prevail. )
In the first half of 2021, China, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, has continuously consolidated its gains in containing the pandemic while ensuring socioeconomic development. China's foreign trade witnesses steady growth with a sound momentum and more progress. According to Customs statistics, China’s foreign trade volume in goods in the first half of 2021 totaled RMB18.07 trillion, up by 27.1% year on year. Exports grew by 28.1% to RMB9.85 trillion and imports rose by 25.9% to RMB8.22 trillion. China’s total foreign trade, exports, and imports expanded by 22.8%, 23.8% and 21.7% respectively compared with the same period in 2019.
The details are as follows:
1. Foreign trade registered positive year-on-year growth for thirteen consecutive months.
In June 2021, China's foreign trade stood at RMB3.29 trillion, 22% higher than the previous year, representing positive year-on-year growth for thirteen consecutive months since last June.
2. Foreign trade with major trading partners maintains a sound growth momentum.
In the first half of 2021, China's trade with its top three trading partners including ASEAN, the EU and the US arrived at RMB2.66 trillion, RMB2.52 trillion and RMB2.21 trillion, up by 27.8%, 26.7% and 34.6%, respectively. Trade with Japan totaled RMB1.18 trillion, up by 14.5%. Trade with countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative and RCEP trading partners increased by 27.5% and 22.7%, respectively.
3. General trade volume saw rapid growth.
In the first half of 2021, China's general trade rose by 30.7% to RMB11.19 trillion, accounting for 61.9% of China’s total foreign trade volume, 1.7 percentage points higher than the previous year. Exports went up by 32.1% to RMB6.02 trillion. Imports increased by 29.2% to RMB5.17 trillion. Processing trade grew by 15.8% to RMB3.89 trillion, taking up 21.5% of the country’s total foreign trade volume.
4. Private enterprises’ role as the main force of foreign trade has been further consolidated.
In the first half of 2021, the trade volume of China’s private enterprises rose by 35.1% to RMB8.64 trillion, accounting for 47.8% of the country’s total foreign trade volume, 2.8 percentage points higher than the previous year, remaining the largest among all market operators. Foreign-invested enterprises grew by 19% to RMB6.61 trillion in imports and exports. State-owned enterprises went up by 23.8% to RMB2.75 trillion in imports and exports.
5. Electro-mechanical products saw an increased proportion in exports.
In the first half of 2021, China’s exports of electro-mechanical products grew by 29.5% to RMB5.83 trillion, making up 59.2% of total exports, 0.6 percentage points higher than the previous year. Exports of automatic data processing machines and components, mobile phones and motor vehicles (including chassis) increased by 17%, 23.3% and 101.4%, respectively. Exports of labor-intensive products grew by 17.1% and exports of medicines and pharmaceutical products rose by 93.6%.
6. Imports of commodities such as iron ore and natural gas increased.
In the first half of 2021, China imported 561 million tons of iron ore, an increase of 2.6%; 59.819 million tons of natural gas, up by 23.8%. Imports of soybeans grew by 8.7% to 48.955 million tons. Imports of corn surged by 318.5% to 15.302 million tons. Imports of wheat jumped by 60.1% to 5.368 million tons. Imports of crude oil edged down 3% to 261 million tons.