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Canton Fair shows vitality of China's foreign trade

Updated: May 11, 2023 Source: Belt and Road Portal
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People visit the 133rd session of China Import and Export Fair, also known as Canton Fair, in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province, April 15, 2023. (Xinhua/Deng Hua)

The on-site activities of the 133rd China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair) concluded on Friday in the southern city of Guangzhou, with a total worth of export deals signed reaching 21.69 billion U.S. dollars, fully demonstrating the resilience and vitality of China's foreign trade, reported People's Daily.

From smart manufacturing, new energy and intelligent networked vehicles to smart life, the innovation and leadership shown by "Made in China" at the Canton Fair were widely praised by global customers.

Chinese enterprises are participating in the global market in a more proactive attitude, striving to stabilize exports to developed countries, expand exports to emerging economies, enhance the level of processing trade, improve the added value of exports, and consolidate and expand the export advantages of new industries.

-- Supply and demand stay enthusiastic with strong market rebound

During the Canton Fairhas attracted more than 9,000 new exhibitors, about 35,000 offline exhibitors, with the on-site export deals reaching 21.69 billion U.S. dollars. A vast number of foreign trade entities enthusiastically participated in the exhibition and took the initiative, showing a steady increase in foreign trade enthusiasm.

Since 2023, with China's economic operation showing a stable rebound momentum, production and demand have gradually improved, and foreign trade imports and exports have stabilized significantly.

China's foreign trade grew by 4.8 percent on a yearly basis to 9.89 trillion yuan in the first quarter of 2023, data from the General Administration of Customs (GAC) showed.

In the first quarter, China's foreign trade enterprises with solid import and export results increased by 5.9 percent year on year with the number of operating entities increasing steadily and the market vitality reviving.

Compared with the first quarter of last year, 25,000 more enterprises have carried out import and export business. Among them, private enterprises occupy a greater number with stronger flexibility, and their import and export growth rate is higher than the overall, playing a positive role in the stabilization of foreign trade scale and optimal structure, said Lv Daliang, spokesman and director of the Department of Statistics and Analysis of GAC.

-- New star products in vogue, foreign trade structure more optimized

Clothing, furniture and home appliances used to be the star products of China's foreign trade exports. Nowadays, the three new star products represented by electric passenger cars, lithium batteries, solar cells are gradually gaining popularity.

In front of the booth, Li Ming, Vice President and General Manager of the Overseas Business Center of Sky-well New Energy Automobile Group, introduced that in the first quarter of last year, the group exported 300 pure electric vehicles, while in the first quarter of this year, more than 3,000 units were exported.

In addition to the traditional European market, Russia and the Middle East as well as South Asia have also shown a strong interest in new energy vehicles (NEVs). At the fair, Sky-well Group signed a large purchase order with Pakistani car dealers, exporting two NEV models totaling 200 units, with a total deal value of 7 million U.S. dollars, Li added.

Data released by the GAC shows that in the first quarter, China's combined exports of the three new star products amounted to 264.69 billion yuan, up 66.9 percent year on year, increasing its share of exports by 1.7 percentage points year on year to 4.7 percent, promoting the optimization of China's foreign trade structure.

Gao Shiwang, the spokesman of the China Chamber of Commerce for lmport and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME), believes that the high growth rate of exports of the three new star products is attributable to both the market opportunities brought by industrial changes and China's complete industrial chain and supply capacity, as well as the promotion of forward-looking and phased progressive policies.

At present, the market penetration rate of the three new star products is still relatively low, and the market demand is far from saturation. In the coming period, their exports will still maintain a high growth rate, Gao added.

-- Seize new opportunities to accelerate cultivation of new advantages in foreign trade

At the Canton Fair, a majority of foreign trade entities have actively explored new markets and developed new models, cultivating new advantages in international competition with a multi-pronged approach.

Anchoring on the new demand of the market in Belt and Road countries, Jiangsu Sumec Machinery has been accelerating R&D innovation in lightweight, silencing, fuel saving and intelligence.

"Compared with similar products, we can save 10 to 15 percent of fuel, effectively reducing the user's living expenses, which is an important product demand of many markets in Belt and Road countries," said Wang Tao, deputy general manager of Sumec Machinery Africa Division.

In the first quarter, China’s trade volume in emerging markets has increased significantly. The import and export to ASEAN, Latin America and Africa and other emerging markets grew by 16.1 percent, 11.7 percent and 14.1 percent, respectively.

In order to help enterprises to stabilize orders and expand markets, Chinese government continues to enrich, adjust and improve relevant policies, implement a good combination of stable foreign trade policies, and encourage local authorities to introduce supporting policies.

Looking ahead, the Chinese economy has strong resilience, great potential and vitalityand the fundamentals for long-term sound growth remain unchanged. As China's economic performance continues to improve as a whole, the upward momentum of foreign trade will be further consolidated and continued.

Editor: Yang Yifan