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China reports better-than-expected foreign trade data in H1

Economy

China's foreign trade in goods in the first half of 2020 surpassed expectations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Guo Yiming

China SCIOUpdated: July 14, 2020

China on Tuesday announced the official data on its foreign trade in goods in the first half of 2020, with a total value of 14.24 trillion yuan (US$2.03 trillion).

Li Kuiwen (R), spokesperson of the General Administration of Customs, speaks at a press conference held by the State Council Information Office (SCIO) in Beijing on July 14, 2020. [Photo/China SCIO]


Though total imports and exports inched down by 3.2% in the first six months, the drop has narrowed by 3.3 percentage points from the first quarter as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and reopens the economy, said Li Kuiwen, spokesperson of the General Administration of Customs, at Tuesday's press conference held by the State Council Information Office. 

Since April, China has recorded positive growth in exports for three consecutive months. And in June, imports and exports grew by 5.1% year on year, with imports up 6.2% and exports up 4.3%. 

Li said imports and exports of private businesses have continued their strong growth against the trend and played a big role in stabilizing the overall trade. In the first half of this year, their total trade was valued at 6.42 trillion yuan, up 4.9% year-on-year and 3.5 percentage points higher than the previous year, accounting for 45.1% of the national total. 

Trade with ASEAN countries is also growing, with the region becoming China's biggest trading partner. In the first half of this year, China's total trade with ASEAN countries was valued at 2.09 trillion yuan, up 5.6% and accounting for 14.7% of China's total trade.

Foreign trade in central and western China maintained a good momentum in the first six months, growing 5.7% to 2.38 trillion yuan. 

Medicine and medical equipment proved to be the bright spots in the country's export, both recording growth of over 20%. Driven by lockdowns, exports of laptops and cellphones reported growth of 9.1% and 0.2% respectively.

Statistics show that imports of major commodities and agricultural products also picked up. In the first half of 2020, the cargo volume grew by 6.6% to 2.33 billion tons. This included 1.56 billion tons of imports, an increase of 8.3%.

"Trade in the second half of this year may continue to face complex situations," Li said. "But with continued policy measures, we're confident in stabilizing trade and increasing quality in imports and exports."