BEIJING, April 16 (Xinhua) -- China returned to foreign trade surplus in March following the implementation of policies for stablizing economic growth and expanding scope of work resumption by foreign trade companies in the countries, marking a recovering trend in China's foreign trade.
According to statistics from the General Administration of Customs. The decline in exports narrowed to 3.5 percent in March, while imports increased by 2.4 percent, a significant improvement from the 2.4-percent-decrease in the previous two months.
As the backlog of export orders caused by postponed resumption of work has been delivered, China's imports and exports have achieved a positive growth in mid and late March,
What's worth noting is that ASEAN replaced the EU to become China's largest trading partner. China's imports and exports to the EU and the United States decreased by 10.4 percent and 18.3 percent year on year respectively, while the total value of imports and exports to ASEAN reached 991.34 billion yuan, an increase of 6.1 percent year-on-year.
The EU and the United States have been hit hard by the epidemic, thus China's trade with these areas has shrunk significantly. As the China-ASEAN FTA protocol has come into full effect, the intra-regional economic and trade cooperation increased, and ASEAN is likely to remain as China's largest trading partner in the near future, pointed Liu Xuezhi, senior researcher of Bank of Communication.
It is worth noting that China's trade of integrated circuits (IC) with ASEAN has achieved substantial growth. As part of the global semiconductor industry chain, China's IC import and export trade with ASEAN countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam is getting closer. In the first quarter, China's IC imports from ASEAN increased by 25.8 percent and exports increased by 28 percent respectively, noted Li Kuiwen, spokesman from General Administration of Customs.
However, due to the epidemic situation, this change cannot yet be regarded as a trend phenomenon, said Gao Lingyun, expert from China Academy of Social Science. Many experts are not optimistic about the future foreign trade situation. The World Trade Organization recently predicted that global trade will decline by 13 percent to 32 percent in 2020. Liu said that the global economic slowdown has become inevitable. The shrinking demand in the international market has hit China's exports, new foreign trade orders have decreased, and exports may show negative growth throughout the year.
(Edited by Bao Nuomin with Xinhua Silk Road, baonuomin@xinhua.)