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SCIO briefing on China's imports and exports in 2017

Economy
A press conference was held Friday morning to introduce China's import and export statistics for 2017.

China.org.cnUpdated: January 15, 2018

Speaker:

Mr. Huang Songping, spokesperson of the General Administration of Customs

Chairperson:

Xi Yanchun, vice director-general of the Press Bureau, State Council Information Office

Date:

Jan. 12, 2018

Huang Songping (R), spokesperson of the General Administration of Customs, speaks at a press conference held by the State Council Information Office in Beijing, Jan. 12, 2018. [Photo by Yuan Shaoda/China SCIO]

Xi Yanchun:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Welcome to this press conference. Today, we are delighted to invite Mr. Huang Songping, the spokesperson for China's General Administration of Customs, to introduce China's import and export performance in 2017. He will also answer some of your questions.

Now, I will give the floor to Mr. Huang.

Huang Songping: 

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Welcome to this press conference. I'm glad to meet you again. First, I will make a brief introduction of China's import and export performance in 2017, and then I will answer some of your questions.

Last year, amid the moderate growth of the global economy, China witnessed stable economic growth, with a continuous rise in imports and exports. According to the Customs' statistics, last year, the import and export of the trade of goods rebounded after declining for two years, with the total volume registered at 27.79 trillion yuan, growing by 14.2 percent from the previous year. Specifically, the volume of exports and imports was respectively registered at 15.33 trillion yuan and 12.46 trillion yuan, growing by 10.8 percent and 18.7 percent from the previous year. The trade surplus was 2.87 trillion yuan, down by 14.2 percent. 

Let me explain in details. 

Huang Songping:

First, the value of China's total imports and exports has increased quarter by quarter but at a slower rate compared to last year. China's imports reached 6.17 trillion yuan, 6.91 trillion yuan, 7.17 trillion yuan and 7.54 trillion yuan during the four quarters of last year respectively, up 21.3 percent, 17.2 percent, 11.9 percent and 8.6 percent respectively. 

Second, the volume of general foreign trade grew rapidly, reaching a higher proportion of the total. In 2017, the total volume of general trade jumped to 15.66 trillion yuan, up 16.8 percent, accounting for 56.4 percent of the total, 1.3 percentage points higher than 2016. Models and structures of trade have been optimized. 

Third, China's trade with its three largest trading partners also increased, and trade with countries along the Belt and Road Initiative saw rapid growth. In 2017, China's imports and exports with the European Union, the United States and ASEAN expanded 15.5 percent, 15.2 percent and 16.6 percent, together accounting for 41.8 percent of the total volume. Trade with Russia, Poland and Kazakhstan rose by 23.9 percent, 23.4 percent and 40.7 percent, respectively, all higher than the overall growth rate.

Fourth, the volume of imports and exports of Chinese private enterprises rose, taking a larger share of total foreign trade. In 2017, the volume of foreign trade of private enterprises hit 10.7 trillion yuan, up 15.3 percent, accounting for 38.5 percent of total foreign trade, 0.4 percentage point higher than 2016. Imports reached 7.13 trillion yuan, up 12.3 percent, taking up 46.5 percent of total imports, up 0.6 percentage point. Exports of private companies expanded 22 percent to 3.57 trillion yuan. 

Fifth, the growth rates of the foreign trade of China's central and western regions as well as the three provinces in northeast China are higher than the national average level. In 2017, the foreign trade of the 12 provincial regions in western China rose by 23.4 percent, 9.2 percentage points higher than the growth rate of the country; foreign trade of the six provinces in the central regions grew by 18.4 percent, 4.2 percentage points higher than the national rate; foreign trade of three provinces in northeast China grew by 15.6 percent, 1.4 percentage points higher than the national average level; while the foreign trade of the 10 provincial regions in eastern areas jumped 13 percent. Regional development has become more coordinated. 

Sixth, electro-mechanical products and traditional labor-intensive products remain the major export goods. In 2017, exports of electro-mechanical products hit 8.95 trillion yuan, up 12.1 percent, accounting for 58.4 percent of China's total volume of exports. Exports of vehicles went up by 27.2 percent, exports of computers grew by 16.6 percent, and exports of mobile phones increased 11.3 percent. During the same period, the total volume of exports of traditional labor-intensive products added up to 3.08 trillion yuan, up 6.9 percent, taking up 20.1 percent of the total export volume. 

Seventh, both the volume and prices of iron ore, crude oil and soybeans increased. In 2017, imports of iron ore reached 1.075 billion tons, up 5 percent; crude oil 420 million tons, up 10.1 percent; soybeans 95.54 million tons, up 13.9 percent; natural gas 68.57 million tons, up 26.9 percent; refined oil 29.64 million tons, up 6.4 percent. Also, China imported 4.69 million tons of copper, down 5.2 percent. During the same period, China's import prices rose by 9.4 percent. Average import prices of iron ore jumped 28.6 percent, crude oil 29.6 percent, soybeans 5 percent, natural gas 13.9 percent, refined oil 25.3 percent and copper 28 percent. 

Eighth, China Export Leading Indicator dropped to 41.1 in December last year, down 0.7 from the previous month, which indicates that China will face export pressure in the first quarter this year. According to an online survey, the indicator for export managers was 44.2 last December, down 0.6 from the previous month; indicators for new export orders and confidence of export managers dropped to 48.3 and 50 respectively, down 0.4 and 1.2 respectively, and an indicator for the general cost of exporting enterprises rebounded to 20.5, up 0.4.

Huang Songping:

Generally speaking, in 2017, the foreign trade in our country rebounded on a steady basis and its potential was realized gradually. With the moderate resurgence of the world economy and a stable economic growth in our country, China's foreign trade may obtain a good momentum this year. However, it will also face the uncertainties and unstable factors affecting global trade and the world economy, and have to respond to the challenges of improving foreign trade quality. 

In 2018, to seek high quality performance, the Customs will ensure all reforms are implemented in due course and all foreign trade grows in full swing. Now I would like to answer your questions.

Xi Yanchun:

Thank you, Mr. Huang. Now the floor is open to the journalists. Just like before,we kindly remind you to identify the media outlets you represent before asking questions. 

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