Foreign trade via Shanghai Customs soared by an "unexpected" 18.3 percent in 2002, hitting US$142.5 billion, official statistics revealed yesterday.
This accounts for around one-quarter of the country's total foreign trade volume, according to Shanghai Customs officials.
The figure was "better than our earlier expectations," said a Shanghai Customs spokesman, who revealed that exports via Shanghai Customs started to take off in the second half of 2002, once the impact of China's World Trade Organization (WTO) accession started to be felt.
Last December's exports via Shanghai Customs, which mainly came from East China including Shanghai, even increased by 56.5 percent over the same period of the previous year.
Foreign-funded and private businesses made a major contribution to last year's export increase, with a year-on-year export growth of 26 percent and 200 percent, said the statistics.
The United States, importing US$17.5 billion of goods via Shanghai Customs last year, had overtaken Japan to become the city's largest export destination.
Chen Wei, an expert at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said that uncertain international political factors will have a negative effect on foreign trade this year.
(China Daily January 13, 2003)