China's international trade soars in 2022

2023-3-3 10:35:16

Nation already 'locomotive' of global economy, official says

Many top economies have reported significant growth in trade with China in 2022 with some figures even setting records, showing ever-closer trade links and supply chain cooperation between China and the rest of the world.

Analysts believe the annual import and export tallies will boost global confidence in the Chinese economy and bolster win-win cooperation with Beijing, showing that the world rejects the decoupling theory hyped by some US politicians.

Volume hits new highs

Newly released US official data showed that trade between the United States and China hit a record $690.6 billion in 2022, indicating robust trade growth despite decoupling rhetoric.

The data showed that despite US government decisions to add tariffs and impose export curbs and some politicians calling for decoupling, trade growth between the two major economies remains robust.

Meanwhile, total trade volume between the EU and China last year grew about 23 percent from 2021, hitting 856.3 billion euros ($910.6 billion), another new high, according to statistics released by Eurostat on Feb 15.

In 2022, total trade between China and Germany grew 20.9 percent year-on-year to 297.9 billion euros, according to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany. China has been Germany's most important trading partner for seven years in a row.

"The Chinese economy is too big to decouple from completely," Juergen Matthes, an expert at the German Economic Institute, said earlier last month. "No one wants that, and it would not make sense."

Data from the General Administration of Customs of China showed that China's total trade volume with Africa, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Latin America in 2022 reached $282.0 billion, $975.3 billion and $485.8 billion, respectively, representing year-on-year increases of 11.1 percent, 11.2 percent and 7.7 percent, shattering previous records.

Ljubo Jurcic, former Croatian minister of economy, said although the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on China's economy, it's expected to resume strong growth after the government improved its pandemic response. Due to strong economic growth and its huge size, China is already the "locomotive" of the global economy, said Jurcic.

Win-win results

The price spikes in international energy and raw materials have exacerbated inflation in Germany. Therefore, affordable commodities produced in China are more favored by the German market. China has also become a preferred market for German companies that have gradually increased investment in China, according to a report by the German Institute for Economic Research.

Automobiles have been a highlight in bilateral trade between Mexico and China over the past year. The National Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico said Chinese cars accounted for nearly a quarter of Mexico's imported cars in 2022. China has surpassed the United States, Japan and other countries to become the main source of imported cars in Mexico.

For Argentina, China has become the country's second-largest export destination and largest source of imports in 2022. Compared with 2021, Argentina's imports from and exports to China in 2022 increased by 29.4 percent and 27.4 percent, respectively, according to the latest data from the Argentine National Institute of Statistics and Census.

Pablo Levinton, a professor of economics at the National University of Lanus in Argentina, believes that the economies of Argentina and China are highly complementary. "Argentine high-quality beef, red wine and other products are welcomed by the Chinese market. Mineral resources such as lithium and copper in Argentina are also needed by China's renewable energy and other industries," Levinton said.

In 2022, bilateral trade between Indonesia and China increased by nearly 20 percent compared with the previous year. China remained Indonesia's largest trading partner and largest export market, demonstrating the high degree of correlation and complementarity between the two economies. "China's rapid economic growth will greatly promote Indonesia's economic and social development," said Bambang Suryono, chairman of the Indonesian think tank Asian Innovation Research Center.

Growth impetus

Looking ahead, many institutions and analysts are optimistic about the prospects for China's foreign trade, and believe that China's economy will gain greater vitality, which will bring more market opportunities and development dividends to the world.

Chilean Customs statistics show that in 2022, Chilean exports to China amounted to $38.11 billion, accounting for 38.9 percent of the country's total exports. China has been Chile's largest trading partner since 2009, with nearly 90 percent of Chile's cherry exports going to the Chinese market.

"The Chinese market is so important for us," said Ivan Marambio, president of the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association.

After China eased travel restrictions for incoming visitors in early January, Marambio led a delegation to visit several Chinese cities to meet business partners.

"We are optimistic about the resilience and consumption vitality of the Chinese market and hope to achieve greater development through the Chinese market," he said.

In 2022, China was Brazil's largest trading partner for the 14th consecutive year. Last year, Brazilian exports to China amounted to $89.43 billion, accounting for 26.8 percent of the country's total, according to official Brazilian figures.

The deepening economic and trade partnership between Brazil and China has driven the development of Brazil's agriculture, infrastructure, science and technology, e-commerce and other fields, said Jose Ricardo dos Santos Luz Junior, CEO of LIDE (Group of Corporate Leaders) China, a Sao Paulo-based company that connects Chinese and Brazilian entrepreneurs, in a recent interview with Xinhua News Agency.

Bilateral trade has been hitting new highs, contributing greatly to Brazil's economic growth, and will surely boost bilateral exchanges in various fields, he said.

In a report released in January, the African Development Bank raised its economic growth forecast for the African region to 4 percent in 2023.

According to the report, after China optimized its COVID-19 response, Asia — as an important export destination for Africa — will achieve steady growth, thus expanding Africa's development space.

Ralf Klein, managing director of Harting Electronics Co Ltd in Germany, said that China has great market potential, and its economy has a huge influence on the development of German enterprises in China.

"We expect China's economy to grow faster," Klein said.

China was Britain's second-largest trading partner in imports and fifth-largest in exports in 2022, according to data released by the UK's Office for National Statistics earlier last month.

Gordon Cheung, a scholar at Durham University in the UK, said that driven by diversified trade demand, British exports to China have increased.

The British business community is actively promoting economic and trade exchanges between Britain and China, and bilateral trade is expected to grow further this year, said Cheung.

(Source: China Daily / Xinhua)

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