Foreign trade expected to surpass $5t in 2025

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China’s foreign trade is expected to reach $5.1 trillion in 2025, and the country will increase its exports and imports with Asian, African and Latin American economies during its 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025), according to a plan released by the Ministry of Commerce on July 9.

That plan, regarding China’s commercial development during the 14th Five-Year Plan period, said the nation will expand the proportion of new forms of foreign trade, such as cross-border e-commerce, from 7 percent in 2020 to 10 percent in 2025 in order to foster new competitive strength.

New business forms and models, particularly cross-border e-commerce, have become a vibrant force driving China’s foreign trade. They also represent a substantial trend in the growth of global trade, said Chen Chunjiang, director-general of the ministry’s Department of Trade in Services and Commercial Services.

Chen Dapeng, vice-president of Beijing-based China National Textile and Apparel Council, shares that idea, and said that to achieve steady progress in ‘Made in China’ products going global, new business models and solid steps are needed.

“China’s cross-border e-commerce has grown nearly tenfold over the past five years. In both exports and imports, it has been expanding much faster than overall foreign trade, and its share in overall foreign trade has surged significantly,” said Jin Hai, director-general of the General Administration of Customs’ Department of General Operation.

While encouraging domestic manufacturers to export more high-end products and create their own brands, the government plan said, China welcomes developed countries relaxing export controls on China to expand its import sources, and it will accelerate the diversification of import sources of agricultural products and energy resources, to better prevent import risks.

Apart from expanding exports and imports of high-quality services in the long run, China aims to raise the share of imports and exports of goods with free trade partners from 27.3 percent last year to around 36 percent in 2025 to further promote the global economic governance system, according to the 42-page document.

Because China welcomes any open, inclusive and transparent regional free trade deals that can help foster economic globalization and regional economic integration, under the rules of the World Trade Organization, Wei Jianguo, vice-chairman of Beijing-based China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said the country has been firmly opening its door wider to the world.

“Once the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, signed late last year by China and its 14 partners, takes effect, market access will be further expanded and investment hurdles mitigated,” he said.

The country is also considering joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that evolved from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and covers a number of economies in the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America.

Eager to attract more foreign direct investment, China will continue to relax market access for foreign capital and guide such investors to better integrate into the national economic cycle during the 14th Five-Year Plan period, according to the plan.

In addition to further shortening its negative list for foreign investment, the government will continue to expand its opening-up in manufacturing, service and agricultural industries and will allow foreign companies to hold a majority of equities or sole proprietorship of businesses in more fields, the plan said.

“As China is pushing the new development paradigm of dual circulation, it will usher in a higher level of opening-up, further stabilize foreign investment and accelerate balanced and sustainable growth,” said Li Fang, president and general manager of Corning Greater China.

Corning is a United States-based material manufacturer of industrial goods and daily necessities.

During the 14th Five-Year Plan period, China will accelerate the dual circulation growth pattern in which domestic and foreign markets boost each other, with the domestic market as the mainstay.