(Economic Observation) China's foreign trade still faces test after "surprise surprise"

  China News Agency, Beijing, July 14 (Reporter Li Xiaoyu) With the epidemic under control, China's imports and exports stabilized significantly in the second quarter, driving foreign trade performance in the first half of the year to be better than expected. However, analysts here believe that out of the "dark moment" does not mean that the road ahead is flat. China's foreign trade will still face a test in the second half of the year.

  According to data released by the General Administration of Customs of China on the 14th, in terms of Renminbi, China’s exports in June increased by 4.3% over the same period of last year and maintained a positive growth for three consecutive months; imports increased by 6.2%, both of which achieved year-on-year growth for the first time during the year.

  From a quarterly perspective, after experiencing shocks in the first quarter, China's foreign trade improved significantly in the second quarter, and the total value of imports and exports narrowed year-on-year to 0.2%, an increase of 16.7% from the first quarter. Driven by the recovery of foreign trade in the second quarter, the total value of China's foreign trade fell by 3.2% year-on-year in the first half of the year, which was narrowed by half compared with the first quarter.

  "At a time when global trade is generally declining, it is quite difficult for China's foreign trade to achieve such results." Bai Ming, deputy director of the International Market Research Institute of the International Trade and Economic Cooperation Research Institute of the Ministry of Commerce of China, said in an interview with China News Service.

  In addition, as the basic set of China's foreign trade, private enterprises not only were not crushed by the epidemic, but rose against the trend. In the first half of the year, the import and export of private enterprises increased by 4.9% year-on-year, accounting for 45.1% of China's total foreign trade value, an increase of 3.5 percentage points over the same period last year.

  While the scale remains generally stable, the quality of China's foreign trade is also improving, and new growth points are accelerating. In the first half of the year, general trade imports and exports accounted for 60.1% of the total value of foreign trade, up 0.4 percentage points from the same period last year.

  Compared with processing trade, the general trade industry chain is longer and has higher added value, which is more representative of independent development capabilities. The increase in the proportion of this form of trade indicates that the export of China's independent brand products is increasing, which is conducive to the transformation of foreign trade from "big in and big out" to "excellent in and out".

  New trade formats and models of cross-border e-commerce have emerged. In the first half of the year, the import and export of customs cross-border e-commerce supervision platforms increased by 26.2%, of which exports increased by 28.7% and imports increased by 24.4%.

  In the words of Li Kuiwen, a spokesman for the General Administration of Customs, China’s foreign trade imports and exports were “better than expected” in the first half of the year.

  Although the first half of the year was "surprised and without danger", China's foreign trade was not yet time to sit back and relax. The number of confirmed cases worldwide is increasing day by day. The slow recovery of major trading partners such as Europe and the United States will put pressure on China's foreign trade in the second half of the year.

  Bai Ming believes that the most difficult days for China's foreign trade have passed, but it will remain to be seen whether it will get better from now on.

  Liu Yuanchun, vice president of Renmin University of China, also said that the high point of the world epidemic situation has not yet appeared, the economy has not bottomed out, and the basis for global trade improvement does not yet exist. Therefore, the world economy may still face great adjustments in the future and cannot be taken lightly.

  According to the latest forecast from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the world economy will decline by 4.9% this year. The World Bank is even more pessimistic and believes that the global economy will decline by 5.2%, the worst economic recession since World War II. The WTO also expects global trade in goods to decline by 13% to 32%, and UNCTAD is expected to decline by 20%.

  According to official data, the new export order index of China's manufacturing PMI in June was only 42.6. Although it was significantly improved from 35.3 in May, it is still far away from the 50 line, indicating that foreign demand is still in a downturn.

  Li Kuiwen also said that the uncertainties and instability factors facing the development of China's foreign trade have increased significantly, superimposed on the impact of Sino-US economic and trade frictions. The import and export situation in the second half of the year is still complicated and grim.

  It is worth noting that China has intensively introduced policies and measures to stabilize foreign trade in recent days, including increasing tax cuts and fee reductions, accelerating export tax rebates, encouraging foreign trade enterprises to transform online, and developing cross-border e-commerce. Foreign trade companies are also doing everything possible to deal with the impact of the epidemic. "Although the international market is not in control, it is not within China's control, but China does its best to do what it can, and it always wins a relatively good result," Bai Ming said. (Finish)