SCIO briefing on China's foreign trade and economic cooperation

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Speakers:
Qian Keming, vice minister of Commerce;
Long Guoqiang, vice minister of Development Research Center of the State Council

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

Date:

July 31, 2017

Xi Yanchun:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Welcome to this press conference. Today, we will continue to analyze China's economic performance. Present are: Mr. Qian Keming, vice minister of Commerce, and Mr. Long Guoqiang, vice minister of the Development Research Center of the State Council. They will introduce the situation in regard to China's foreign trade and economic cooperation performance in the first half of 2017, and answer some of your questions.

Now, let's welcome Mr. Qian to give his briefing.

Qian Keming:

Good morning, friends from the media. It's a pleasure for me to attend this press conference. Now, I'll give you a short briefing on China's foreign trade performance in the first half of this year.

In this period, China's foreign trade posted a good performance, with some indicators surpassing expectations. The transition from old engines of growth to new drivers has accelerated, and the overall economic structure continues to improve.

First, let's have a look at foreign trade that has achieved stable growth.

This year, the world economy has grown at a faster pace, and international trade has finally bottomed out, promoting a better global environment for China to conduct its foreign trade. We effectively implemented policies for promoting steady growth and structural adjustment in foreign trade, improved trade facilitation, and further relieved the burden on enterprises, thus helping them to grasp new opportunities to explore the global market.

The foreign trade situation has remained good so far this year. The total volume of imports and exports reached 13.14 trillion yuan, up 19.6 percent over last year, finally rebounding after a two-year decline. Specifically, exports grew by 15 percent, and imports 25.7 percent year-on-year.

Besides, we have taken measures to improve the work in five areas and promote progress in three areas. Specifically, improvement has been achieved in the global market arrangement, domestic market division, product mix for foreign trade, composition of business providers, and trading methods; meanwhile, progress has been made in accelerating the development of demonstration centers for transforming and upgrading foreign trade, trade platforms and the global marketing network.

Generally speaking, the adjustment of the foreign trade structure and the transformation of growth drivers have gathered pace and achieved good results.

China's import and export trade with countries along the Belt and Road have enjoyed comparatively faster growth, among which, an increase of 21.9 percent was recorded with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), 30.4 percent with India and 33.1 percent with Russia. Domestically, foreign trade increased by 26.8 percent in the central area, 25.7 percent in the western area and 18.5 percent in the eastern area; thus, the central and western areas showed faster growth than the eastern area. In regard to the product structure, exports of mechanical and electrical products grew faster than traditional labor-intensive products. Export of automobiles and ships increased by 32.7 percent and 25.1 percent respectively. General trade imports and exports grew by 20.5 percent, higher than the processing trade, where the growth rate was 16.1 percent. In terms of the management structure, imports and exports handled by private enterprises grew by 20.4 percent, resulting in a moderate rise in their proportion of total foreign trade.

In addition, new modes of foreign trade have grown rapidly, with the import and export of cross-border e-commerce increasing by a staggering 66.7 percent. Market procurement exports grew by 27.8 percent, with pilot foreign trade comprehensive service business continuing to advance steadily. We have actively conducted a pilot program of innovation and development in the service sector, with imports and exports in services increasing by 9.2 percent in the first five months.

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