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Challenges remain for China's foreign trade in 2017: GAC

By Yuan Can (People's Daily Online)    17:36, January 13, 2017

Facing the reality of a global economic slowdown and continuing pressure on China’s economy, it’s certain that challenges still face China's trade development. At the same time, the country’s foreign trade had warmed up by the end of 2016, a spokesperson for China's top customs administration said on Jan. 13 at a press conference.

China's foreign trade surplus narrowed to 3.35 trillion RMB (about $486 billion) in 2016, down 9.1 percent from a year earlier, with exports decreasing by 2 percent to 13.84 trillion, and imports growing by 0.6 percent to reach 10.49 trillion RMB. These figures come from the General Administration of Customs (GAS). According to statistics, China's foreign trade volume stood at 24.33 trillion RMB in 2016, signifying a year-on-year drop of 0.9 percent.

“Thanks to government efforts, foreign trade has stabilized and even started picking up steam from the second half of 2016,” Huang Songping, a spokesperson of GAS, said at the press conference held by State Council Information Office.

Obstacles still remain when it comes to China's foreign trade development, noted Huang. Imports and exports by foreign-invested and state-owned enterprises dropped by 2.2 percent and 5.6 percent respectively, and imports and exports under processing trade dropped by 4.9 percent.

Given the global economic downturn and the challenge of trade protectionism to globalization, China's foreign trade in 2017 may have a hard time maintaining a consistent upward trend, according to Huang.

Furthermore, with the cost of production on the rise, China’s traditional competitive advantage in foreign trade continues to weaken. The cost of logistics is already relatively high due to imbalanced regional development in central and western China.

Facing a complex international trade environment, China’s customs will focus on seeking progress through steady development, implement policies and measures for steady foreign trade growth, focus on the establishment of a new, open economic system, carry out customs reform measures, advance the steady recovery of foreign trade, and serve the economic and social development of the nation, said Huang. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Zhang Tianrui, Bianji)

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