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[Yearly Overview XX for Commerce Work in 2018] Scale of Import and Export Hit a Record High and the High-quality Development of Foreign Trade Achieved Positive Results

In 2018, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, MOFCOM comprehensively implemented the decisions and plans of CPC Central Committee and the State Council, deeply promoted the supply-side structural reform of foreign trade, paid close attention to policy implementation in foreign trade, and successfully held the first CIIE. The import and export achieved rapid growth with the structure further optimized, the power conversion accelerated, and the quality and efficiency improved. The high-quality development of foreign trade achieved remarkable results. The task of "consolidating the healthy trend toward stable growth in foreign trade" put forward in the Report on the Work of the Government in 2018 was successfully completed, which achieved a good start in implementing the spirit of the 19th CPC National Congress in the foreign trade and made new contributions to the promotion of economic and social development.

According to the statistics of the Customs, China's total import and export value reached US$4.62 trillion in 2018, with an increase of 12.6% year on year (similarly hereinafter). Among these, the export reached US$2.48 trillion, with an increase of 9.9%, and the import reached US$2.14 trillion, with an increase of 15.8%. The surplus was US$351.76 billion, narrowing down by 16.2%. In terms of RMB, China's total import and export value reached 30.51 trillion yuan, with an increase of 9.7% year on year. Among these, the export reached 16.42 trillion yuan, with an increase of 7.1%, and the import reached 14.09 trillion yuan, with an increase of 12.9%. The surplus was 2.33 trillion yuan, narrowing down by 18.3%.

First, the scale reached the best level. In terms of scale, China鈥檚 total import and export value, export value and import value all hit a record high, and the total import and export value increased by US$515.9 billion than that of 2017 with the net added value exceeding the year-round import and export value when China joined the WTO in 2001. In terms of growth rate, the growth rate of import and export reached 12.6% in 2018, the highest increase since 2012. In terms of international comparison, the latest data of the WTO showed that (in October-October) China鈥檚 import and export growth rate was better than the average growth rate of major trading countries such as the US, Germany, Japan and other major economies.

Second, the trade structure continues to be optimized. The international market structure became more diversified, and the proportion of import and export with emerging markets increased by 1.3 percentage points, reaching 57.7%. Among these, the proportion of import and export with the countries along the Belt and Road routes increased by 0.9 percentage points, reaching 27.4%. The domestic regional layout became more balanced, the proportion of import and export in central and western region increased by 0.6 percentage points, reaching 15.8%. The structure of commodities continued to escalate; the proportion of export of mechanical and electrical products increased by 0.3 percentage points, reaching 58.7%. All business entities developed together; the proportion of export of private enterprises increased by 1.4 percentage points, reaching 48.0%, and continuing to maintain the status of the largest export business entity. The trade structure was further optimized, and the proportion of general trade export increased by 2 percentage points, reaching 56.3%.

Third, the development momentum accelerated to transform. The business environment for the development of new foreign trade formats was continuously improved. Twenty-two new cross-border e-commerce comprehensive test areas and pilot mart procurement projects at 6 marts were set up. Cross-border e-commerce and market procurement trade maintained rapid growth for three consecutive years and has become a new highlight of foreign trade growth. The export of high-quality, high-tech and high-value-added products grew steadily. In 2018, the export of automobiles was 1.216 million, with an amount of US$14.85 billion, and the export of complete sets of equipment exceeded US$130 billion. The transformation of new and old kinetic energy for foreign trade development accelerated.

Fourth, the development of foreign trade became more balanced. The import increased by 15.8% in 2018, and the contribution rate to the import and export growth was 56.6%, becoming the important driving power of foreign trade growth. China鈥檚 import of commodities such as crude oil, natural gas, copper concentrate, coal, paper pulp and log increased by 10.1%, 31.9%, 13.7%, 3.9%, 4.5% and 3.9% respectively, which ensured the demand of domestic market. The trade surplus narrowed down by 16.2%, and the trade development became more balanced.

Fifth, the contributions to national economy and society were strengthened. Foreign trade is one of the three important drivers for national economic development. The development of foreign trade powerfully promoted the construction of China鈥檚 open economy and speeded up the process of industrialization and urbanization. In January-November 2018, our import linkage taxes reached 1.9 trillion yuan, up 8.7%, accounting for 12.6% of our tax revenue. The fast-growing import and export also made contributions to employment, industry upgrading and balance of payments.

Sixth, it played an important role in the global economic and trade development. The stable upward economy drove the continuously rapid growth of import, providing broader market and more precious cooperation opportunities for countries around the world. According to the statistics of the WTO, in the first three quarters of 2018, our share of import in the world increased by 0.7 percentage points than that of last year over the same period, reaching 10.9%, and the contribution of import to global import growth reached 16.8%. We successfully held the first CIIE, which attracted 172 countries, regions and international organizations. 3,617 companies participated in the CIIE, with a turnover of US$57.8 billion, providing new opportunities for all countries鈥exports, building a new platform for all countries to share China's development dividends and injecting new impetus into world economic growth.

At present, our foreign trade development is facing increasing uncertainties and unstable factors, and unilateralism and trade protectionism are rising. We should also see that the foreign trade development still has powerful support. The 19th CPC National Congress made comprehensive plans for further deepening reform and opening up. At the opening ceremony of the first CIIE, General Secretary Xi Jinping announced new measures to expand opening up, injecting new impetus into the development of foreign trade. All departments and regions have paid close attention to policy implementation, and the business environment for foreign trade development has actually been improved.

Next, guided by President Xi Jinping鈥Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, we will deeply carry out the spirit of the 19th CPC National Congress and the second and third plenary sessions of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, seriously implement the plans of the Central Economic Work Conference, work hard in "consolidation, enhancement, improvement, and smoothness," and deeply implement 鈥渇ive optimizations鈥and 鈥渢hree constructions.鈥We will vigorously cultivate new modes of foreign trade, promote the innovative development of processing trade, actively expand import, try our best to hold the second CIIE, further enhance the level of trade facilitation, and strive to improve the quality of foreign trade during its steady development. We will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China with excellent achievements, and make new contributions to the victory of building a well-off society in an all-round way and realizing the Chinese Dream of the great national rejuvenation.

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