Zhejiang trade growth remains stable

Zhejiang province’s export growth remained steady in the first five months of the year despite headwinds from the China-US trade dispute, and the province’s export growth in the first half is expected to reach 9 percent year-on-year, said its governor on Friday.

Yuan Jiajun, governor of Zhejiang province, said at a news conference that despite Sino-US trade disagreements, the growth rate of the province’s exports in the first five months rose 8.4 percent, and that the province’s two-way trade in 2018 totaled 2.85 trillion yuan ($414.8 billion), of which exports comprised 2.1 trillion yuan. Zhejiang’s total exports last year accounted for 12.9 percent of the national total, ranking third nationwide.

“Trade conflicts between China and the United States have jeopardized China’s trade environment. Therefore, we are taking active measures to ensure both the growth rate and the national proportion of Zhejiang’s imports and exports to contribute to national economic development,” Yuan said.

Last June, the provincial government launched an online supervision system that stores the information of enterprises’ export orders, he said.

Enterprises submit their export order information into the system so that the government is able to monitor enterprises’ export situations to make forecasts and provide support for those enterprises.

Currently, over 40,000 exporters in Zhejiang have been registered in the monitoring system, and each month the system offers export forecasts and analysis, serving as guidance for the government to take supportive measures when necessary to ensure healthy growth.

In addition to boosting exports, the government is taking steps to foster new growth engines.

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“Traditional trade may be hurt by the tough external environment, and therefore we have put emphasis on new trade sources such as crossborder e-commerce,” he said.

In 2018, the import and export value of Zhejiang’s cross-border e-commerce totaled 27.6 billion yuan, up 44.3 percent year-on-year, said Hangzhou Customs.

Furthermore, to offset the impact of falling exports to the US, enterprises from Zhejiang are actively exploring other markets, such as the European Union. Last year, Zhejiang’s trade with EU countries grew by 9.3 percent year-on-year to reach 556.9 billion yuan.

Trade with ASEAN countries in 2018 surged 22.5 percent year-on-year to 316 billion yuan. The province’s trade with countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative reached 896.7 billion yuan, rising 12.3 percent year-on-year, the customs office said.

“Multiple platforms, such as the China (Zhejiang) Pilot Free Trade Zone, the China-CEEC Expo & International Consumer Goods Fair as well as overseas industrial parks are also helping our enterprises to optimize their global value chains,” Yuan added.

According to the State Council Information Office, in the first quarter, Zhejiang’s GDP totaled 1.3 trillion yuan, 7.7 percent higher than the same period last year. The disposable income of urban and rural dwellers in the January-March period stood at 18,391 yuan and 10,010 yuan, respectively, up 8.7 percent and 9.5 percent year-on-year. Total trade in goods amounted to 1.17 trillion yuan in the first five months, growing 7.4 percent year-on-year.

Che Jun, secretary of the Zhejiang Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, said that “taking advantage of the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region, Zhejiang has learned from the opening-up experiences from the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone and Jiangsu and Anhui provinces. In the future, we will strive to make further advances in the new round of opening-up,” he said.

“As one of the major export regions of China, Zhejiang will continue to offer more favorable policies and assistance to exporters in order to support the steady growth of the economy as well as the region’s high-quality development,” Yuan said.

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