SCIO press conference on China's import and export performance in 2021

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Li Kuiwen, spokesperson of the General Administration of Customs (GACC) and director general of the GACC's Department of Statistics & Analysis


Xing Huina, deputy director general of the Press Bureau of the State Council Information Office (SCIO) and SCIO spokesperson


Jan. 14, 2022

Xing Huina:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning! Welcome to this press conference held by the State Council Information Office (SCIO). The SCIO will be hosting a series of press conferences on China's annual economic data. The first press conference being held today will focus on China's import and export performance in 2021. We are delighted to be joined by Mr. Li Kuiwen, spokesperson of the General Administration of Customs (GACC) and director of the GACC's Department of Statistics & Analysis, who will introduce the situation and answer your questions.

We will first invite Mr. Li Kuiwen to give a brief introduction.

Li Kuiwen:

Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the media, good morning! Welcome to today's press conference. It's a great pleasure to meet with you again. Next, I'll begin by introducing China's import and export performance for 2021, and then answer your questions.

In 2021, with the world experiencing the combined impacts of major changes and a pandemic both unseen in a century, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, China has used high-level opening-up to promote deeper reform and stimulate high-quality growth. China has stayed ahead globally in terms of economic development and pandemic response, and maintained rapid growth in foreign trade, which registered a record high in volume and steady progress in quality. According to statistics from the GACC, China's total foreign trade of goods expanded 21.4% year on year to 39.1 trillion yuan in 2021. Exports grew by 21.2% to 21.73 trillion yuan and imports increased by 21.5% to 17.37 trillion yuan. Compared with the same period in 2019, China's foreign trade, exports and imports increased by 23.9%, 26.1% and 21.2%, respectively. In 2021, there were five main features which I will now outline: 

First, China's foreign trade moved up another notch in 2021 by exceeding $6 trillion for the first time. The total goods trade amounted to $6.05 trillion. China first reached $4 trillion in foreign trade in 2013. In the following eight years, it crossed the thresholds of $5 trillion, and then $6 trillion in 2021, reaching a record high. The increase in foreign trade this year reached $1.4 trillion.

Second, China's trade with its main trading partners maintained sound growth. China's trade with countries along the Belt and Road rose at a faster speed. In 2021, China's trade with its top five trading partners, the ASEAN, the European Union, the United States, Japan and the Republic of Korea, stood at 5.67 trillion yuan, 5.35 trillion yuan, 4.88 trillion yuan, 2.4 trillion yuan and 2.34 trillion yuan, respectively, up 19.7%, 19.1%, 20.2%, 9.4% and 18.4%, respectively. During the same period, China's trade with countries along the Belt and Road rose by 23.6%, 2.2 percentage points higher than the overall growth rate.

Third, the trade models have been further optimized, with general trade accounting for more than 60%. In 2021, China's general trade increased by 24.7% to 24.08 trillion yuan, accounting for 61.6% of the total foreign trade volume, up 1.6 percentage points; among general trade, exports rose by 24.4% to 13.24 trillion yuan and imports rose 25% to 10.84 trillion yuan. During the same period, processing trade increased by 11.1% to 8.5 trillion yuan, accounting for 21.7% of the total foreign trade volume.

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