China’s Foreign Trade Hits Record High in First Half of 2021 Following COVID-19 Recovery

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China has seen record-breaking levels of foreign trade since the start of 2021, as the economy recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The total value of China’s foreign trade in goods in the first half of 2021 was 18.07 trillion yuan, for a YoY rise of 27.1%, according to figures released by the Chinese customs authorities.

Exports totalled 9.85 trillion yuan, for YoY growth of 28.1%, while imports were 8.22 trillion yuan, for a YoY rise of 25.9%.

China’s foreign trade in goods for the first half of 2021 also saw a 22.8% increase compared to the first half of 2019. Exports rose by 23.8%, while imports increased by 21.7% compared to the first half of 2019.

“The 18.07 trillion yuan in imports and exports in the first half of 2021 was the highest for the period on record,” said Li Kuiwen (李魁文), chief statistician for China’s customs authority. “[June] was also the 13th consecutive month that trade saw a positive YoY increase, further consolidating the trend of steady growth in foreign trade.”

In the first half of 2021 China’s exports to the US grew by 31.7%, while exports to the EU and ASEAN increased by 25.5% and 27.8% respectively. Exports to Latin America grew by 47%, and exports to Africa rose by 27.7%.

Official data further indicates that private enterprises in China are an increasingly important mainstay of the country’s foreign trade. In the first half of 2021 the imports and exports of private enterprises totalled 8.64 trillion yuan, for YoY growth of 35.1%,

Private enterprises accounted for 47.8% of China’s foreign trade in the first half, for a 2.8 percentage point increase. Their exports totalled 5.59 trillion yuan, for YoY growth of 35.6%, while imports were 3.05 trillion yuan, for growth of 34.3%.

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