China's foreign trade increases 7.9% in first four months

China will ensure smooth logistics and production activities, and reinforce regional economic cooperation to support its foreign trade and ease pressure on its exporters, as the impact of the recent domestic Covid-19 resurgence may last for a while, said government officials and analysts. Despite the country’s foreign trade achieving stable performance in the first four months of the year, they said more efforts are needed, as the export sector faces multiple challenges and risks, such as a high base from last year, and some internal and external factors, including the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The total value of China’s foreign trade rose by 7.9% on a yearly basis to CNY12.58 trillion between January and April, with exports increasing 10.3% from the same period last year to CNY6.97 trillion and imports growing 5% to CNY5.61 trillion, the General Administration of Customs said. The country’s exports grew 1.9% year-on-year to CNY1.74 trillion in April, while imports dropped 2% to CNY1.41 trillion. “The drop in imports in April was caused by the Covid-19 resurgence in China’s Yangtze River Delta region, as this has lengthened the process of customs clearance and logistics,” said Ma Yu, Researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing. Apart from facing fierce competition from Southeast Asian countries in the area of labor-intensive manufacturing sectors, to date this year, the flow of China’s export goods at Shanghai’s ports, which has been limited by strict epidemic prevention measures, slowed last month, he said.

Faced with a more complex and severe external environment, Li Kuiwen, Director of the Administration’s Statistics and Analysis Department, reiterated that the fundamentals of China’s long-term sound economic growth will not change. “China’s goal of maintaining stability and improving foreign trade throughout the year is still well supported,” he said, adding that closer regional economic cooperation and continuous optimization of the trade layout will further boost China’s exports and imports with other signatories of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and economies related to the Belt and Road Initiative.

Experts said it is urgent for the government to speed up work resumption in the Yangtze River Delta region and introduce policies to further lower the prices of commodities to ease the pressure on Chinese exporters, the China Daily reports.