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China’s 2023 foreign trade growth exceeds expectations

ISLAMABAD (PEN) : China’s trade in goods grew by 0.2 percent year on year to 41.76 trillion yuan ($5.88 trillion) in 2023, exceeding expectations and reaching the country’s goals of steady growth and quality improvement, according to the General Administration of Customs (GAC) on Friday.

Exports grew by 0.6 percent to 23.77 trillion yuan, while imports fell by 0.3 percent to 17.99 trillion yuan.

Developing trade partners

China’s trade with Belt and Road partners grew by 2.8 percent to 19.47 trillion yuan in 2023. In the fourth quarter, trade with the European Union and the United States rebounded.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade agreement that came into effect in 2022, has helped reduce trade costs and boost trade between China and the other 14 member countries.

China’s trade with the other RCEP member countries totaled 12.6 trillion yuan in 2023, up 5.3 percent from 2021 before the agreement came into effect.

Trade costs in RCEP have been significantly reduced and the supply chains have become more closely linked over the past two years, said Lyu Daliang, GAC spokesperson.

NEV exports hit new high

China exported 5.22 million vehicles in 2023, up 57.4 percent year on year, customs data showed.

“China is vigorously promoting the green and low-carbon transformation and upgrading of its automotive industry with the export of new energy vehicles becoming a bright spot to the sector,” Lyu said.

One in every three vehicles exported from China is currently an electric passenger vehicle, with the total exports of vehicles hitting 1.77 million, surging 67.1 percent year on year.

“Looking ahead, we believe that China’s automotive industry still has a very strong overall competitive advantage, and it will also be able to continue to provide more and better innovative products to meet the needs of global consumers,” Lyu said.

China boasts huge market

China is also the world’s most promising large market, with the largest middle-income population in the world.

The country imported more than 5 trillion yuan of bulk commodities, nearly 3 trillion yuan of electronic components and nearly 2 trillion yuan of consumer goods in 2023.

Looking ahead to 2024, Wang Lingjun, deputy director of the GAC, said that the external environment for trade remains challenging, but that China’s foreign trade is expected to continue to expand in scale and grow in quality.