(Economic Observation) What does it mean for China to become the largest trading partner of the United States again?

  China News Agency, Beijing, June 17 (Reporter Li Xiaoyu) According to US media reports, the US-China trade volume increased to US$39.7 billion in April, an increase of nearly 43% from March, which means that China has once again become the largest US trade partner.

  Earlier, due to Sino-US economic and trade frictions, U.S. imports from China fell by 12% year-on-year and exports to China fell by 19% in the first half of 2019. The total volume of goods trade between the two countries was US$271.04 billion. Mexico overtook China and became the largest trading partner of the US .

  In an interview with a reporter from China News Service, scholars here believe that the reason why China can return to the United States' largest trading partner is the result of internal and external interactions.

  Gao Lingyun, a researcher at the Institute of World Economy and Politics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that although China-US trade has abnormally declined due to economic and trade frictions, the deep foundation of economic and trade cooperation between the two countries is still there. The rebound in the bilateral trade volume between China and the United States is an intuitive manifestation of this foundation.

  Bai Ming, deputy director of the International Market Research Institute of the International Trade and Economic Cooperation Research Institute of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, also said that China’s export competitiveness is stronger, and the relatively stable US demand for Chinese goods is an important reason for China’s return to the United States’ largest trading partner. In addition, under the epidemic, many obstructions or even breaks occurred in the global industrial chain and supply chain. China's advantages in the industrial chain supply chain have become more prominent, and the economy has taken the lead in recovering. The US trade recovery provides conditions.

  "Single-month recovery of Sino-US trade volume is indeed a positive signal, but the monthly trade data is highly volatile," Gao Lingyun said. At present, there are still voices in the United States opposing US-China economic and trade cooperation, plus various uncertainties before the US election, For the positive trend in the bilateral trade field to continue, the two sides still need to work together and go against each other.

  While the epidemic is still spreading and the global economy and trade have been severely hit, the prospects for Sino-US trade are also facing challenges.

  According to the latest forecast by the World Bank, the global economy will contract by 5.2% in 2020, the deepest recession since the Second World War. Due to severe disruption in domestic demand and supply, trade and finance, economic activity in advanced economies is expected to shrink by 7% in 2020, with the US economy contracting by 6.1%.

  The US epidemic is still spreading. According to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University, the cumulative number of confirmed cases of new coronary pneumonia in the United States has exceeded 2.2 million, and the cumulative deaths are close to 120,000.

  Bai Ming said that as the country with the worst epidemic in the world, it will take a long time for the US economy to "recover", even if the recovery has a relatively limited effect on the world economy. Under such circumstances, Chinese enterprises should take precautions and actively explore diversified markets to avoid "putting eggs in a basket."

  Gao Lingyun also reminded that while the epidemic is still ongoing and it is difficult for the US economy to return to its pre-epidemic state within a year or two, Chinese companies should be mentally prepared for the decline in Sino-US trade this year.

  However, the trade volume between China and ASEAN and other neighboring economies has not decreased but increased, which is conducive to alleviating the pressure on China's overall foreign trade caused by the downturn in Sino-US trade.

  According to official data, the trade volume between China and ASEAN reached 1.7 trillion yuan in the first five months of this year, a year-on-year increase of 4.2%, and it was quite eye-catching against the backdrop of a 4.9% decline in China's foreign trade imports and exports. Among them, China's exports to ASEAN exceeded 900 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 2.8%. (Finish)