Recently, the Comprehensive Department and Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Commerce have jointly issued the China Foreign Trade Situation Report (Spring 2020). The Report reviews China’s foreign trade situation in 2019 and in the first five months of 2020, and analyzes the development environment of China’s foreign trade in 2020. In 2019, against the backdrop of faltering global trade, China’s foreign trade grew to an all-time high with new breakthroughs in high-quality development. Given the global spread of COVID-19, the sharp decline in international market demand and the increasing downward pressure on foreign trade, the growth rate of China’s imports and exports has declined in the first five months this year. Since March 2020, however, such decline has narrowed down while the high-quality development of foreign trade has continued.
The Report argues that in 2020, the environment for foreign trade development will be more uncertain, more challenging and more stressful. The risk of world economic recession is rising, the supply chain and the industry chain blocked, and international trade and investment shrinking. Mounting problems are facing domestic companies, especially micro businesses and SMEs. The employment pressure has increased. The risks and challenges confronting China’s foreign trade sector are extremely complex and severe. At the same time, it should be noted that with the gradual alleviation of the epidemic situation in China, economic and production activities have gradually returned to normal. There is still a solid foundation for maintaining foreign trade stability for the whole year and improving the quality of foreign trade.
The Report pointed out that the Ministry of Commerce would push ahead with epidemic prevention and control and foreign trade development, spare no effort to maintain the fundamentals of foreign trade, further promote the “five improvements” and “three constructions”, stabilize and improve the quality of foreign trade, promote high-quality trade development to better fulfill the socioeconomic goals, and make due contributions to the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.