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China's imports and exports in the first two months of this year fell 0.8% year-on-year, or 8.3% in dollar terms. How does MOFCOM assess the performance of foreign trade in the first two months and what is the prediction of the future trend of foreign trade?(2023-03-16)

In the first two months of this year, China's total import and export of goods amounted to RMB 6.18 trillion, basically unchanged from the same period last year. Foreign trade has kicked off to a steady start and shown great resilience. It is mainly manifested in the following two aspects.

Foreign trade volume remains stable. In the first two months, despite the challenges of weakening external demand, the total import and export of goods registered more than RMB 6 trillion, the second highest in history for the same period. Against the backdrop of a general decline in exports of neighboring countries, China's exports in dollar terms only declined in single digit and achieved positive growth in RMB terms.

Foreign trade mix continues to upgrade. Private enterprises are more active, with their import and export up by 5.3% and accounting for 51.2%, an increase of 3 percentage points over the same period last year. Trade ties with emerging markets have been cemented. The import and export to ASEAN and countries along the "Belt and Road" grew by 9.6% and 10.1% respectively, with a good momentum of trade in high-tech and high value-added products. Auto exports rose by 78.9%.

This can be attributed to a domestic economy that has stabilized and picked up, smoother cross-border exchanges, new drivers of foreign trade that are unleashing potential at a quicker pace and Chinese market entities rising to challenges head on. Meanwhile, the many rounds of policies and initiatives we have introduced continue to pay off.

In the report on the work of the government this year, it was noted that many difficulties and challenges still confront China; uncertainties in the external environment are on the rise. Global inflation remains high, global economic and trade growth is losing steam, and external attempts to suppress and contain China are escalating. These difficulties and challenges, particularly outstanding in the field of foreign trade, have a significant influence on this year’s foreign trade trends. Most local governments and companies say that weakening external demand and decreasing orders are top challenges to foreign trade at this moment, while other trade-related risks are mounting, including impeded collection of payment from some countries. After extensive and in-depth study and investigation to learn the needs of local governments and businesses, MOFCOM is working with relevant authorities to explore policies to stabilize the size of foreign trade and improve its mix. Following the overall plan of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, and with the joint efforts of all local governments, government authorities and foreign trade companies, we are confident in keeping up the stable development of foreign trade, to make new contribution to the stability and recovery of China’s economy. Thank you.