Major Achievements in Domestic and International Trade in the Past Decade
May 20, 2022
Ministry of Commerce
Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the Party leadership group of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has been working under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, strengthening the Party’s overall leadership in commerce work, and resolutely implementing the decisions of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. As a result, China has enabled historic achievements and transformations in developing its domestic and foreign trade.
1. New progress in expanding domestic demand and boosting consumption
Consumption represents the final demand. MOFCOM firmly implements the strategy of expanding domestic demand to boost consumption as a driving force for the economic circulation. In 2021, the total retail sales of consumer goods stood at 44.1 trillion yuan, up 110% from 2012; final consumption accounted for 65.4% of the sum, 10 percentage points higher than in 2012. These figures show that consumption remains the ballast of
The consumption structure has been upgraded. Services consumption is expanding. In 2021, the per capita consumption of services accounted for 44.2% of the total per capita consumption, growing by 4.5 percentage points from 2013[ Earliest statistics available.]. In 2021, China sold 26.275 million cars domestically, an increase of 36.1% compared with 2012, topping the world for 13 years in a row; the total number of cars in China reached 302 million, a 1.5-fold surge from 2012; 3.521 million new energy vehicles (NEVs) were sold, accounting for around half of all NEVs sold worldwide in that year, making China the largest NEV market for seven years straight.
New types of consumption are flourishing. Online shopping has become an indispensable channel for household consumption. China is home to over 20 million online retail stores. In 2021, it saw an online retail sales figure of 13.1 trillion yuan, with 10.8 trillion yuan for physical goods, accounting for 24.5% of the total retail sales of consumer products. Rural e-commerce has been booming, generating 2.05 trillion yuan in rural online retail sales in 2021, up by 11.3% year-on-year, contributes its unique share to poverty alleviation and rural revitalization.
Consumption platforms keep innovating. We have taken initial steps to cultivate international consumption center cities in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Tianjin and Chongqing, to build new pacesetters of consumption upgrading and platforms of high-level opening-up, and accelerate consumption improvement and upgrading. We successfully held the first China International Consumer Products Expo, in which more than 1,500 companies from 70 countries and regions (including China) participated, to better satisfy consumers’ demand for quality consumption. We have also held consumption promotion activities such as the Consumption Promotion Month, the Brand and Quality Online Shopping Festival, the Time-Honored Brands Carnival and the China Cuisine Festival, and built specialty neighborhoods and internet-famous sites, to further unleash consumption potential.
2. New breakthroughs in developing a modern distribution system
Developing a modern distribution system is a strategic task in the building of a new development paradigm. From day one, MOFCOM has been working hard to advance a modern distribution system by expanding its scale, upgrading its structure and reinforcing its fundamental and pioneering role. In 2021, the value added to the wholesale and retail sectors reached 11.0 trillion yuan, which increased by 1.2-fold from 2012 to account for 9.7% of China’s GDP, signaling remarkable progress in building a modern distribution system in China.
Weak links have been bolstered in rural areas. Under the comprehensive demonstration project of bringing e-commerce to rural areas, support has been offered to a total of 1,489 counties, 1,212 county-level logistics distribution centers were built, and the online retail sales of agricultural produce reached 422.1 billion yuan in 2021. According to postal statistics, at the end of 2021, express delivery service outlets covered 98% of all villages and townships, more than 80% of the administrative villages enjoyed express delivery services, and 348,000 ule.com stores were built. Transformation was completed for 64% of the township postal stations, and the coverage of integrated postal and express delivery stations was extended to 31% of the administrative villages. In 2021, the county-level commerce development initiative supported the construction and renovation of 834 integrated county commercial service centers, 1,858 rural malls in villages and townships, and nearly 37,000 village convenience stores.
New characteristics have been fostered in urban commerce. Urban commercial upgrading has seen significant progress. 428 15-minute community service circles have been built, which have created over 500,000 jobs, helped more than 8 million people and pooled 13.5 billion of private investment. At the end of 2021, there were around 250,000 brand-name chain convenience stores in China, and the access to and quality of their service witnessed further improvement. We have launched pilot projects for the renovation of pedestrian shopping streets nationwide. Twenty-three pedestrian shopping streets are identified as pilot pedestrian shopping streets, and 11 pedestrian shopping streets, including Nanjing’s Confucius Temple Market, were named “national demonstration pedestrian shopping streets in two batches in 2020 and 2021. In 2021, the 23 pilot streets saw a year-on-year growth of 10.2% in visits and 16.7% in revenue.
Improved distribution efficiency. We continued to promote digitalization, standardization, and intensification in commercial distribution. Total logistics cost steadily declined as a share of GDP, to 14.6% in 2021, down by 3.4 percentage points from 2012. Standard pallet utilization rate reached 35%, up by more than 12 percentage points from 2012. We rolled out the pilot program for the comprehensive reform and development of domestic trade distribution system, and gained over 30 replicable practices. We introduced a number of policies for the development of the distribution system, and put in place a basic standard system covering main industries. The proportion of basic and management standards rose from 50.3% in 2015 to 77.8% in 2020. By the end of 2021, there were 861 current standards in relation to commerce, including 115 national standards and 746 industry standards. A standard system covering the major commercial industries has taken shape.
Third, great strides in the high-quality development of foreign trade.
The CPC Central Committee and the State Council attach great importance to foreign trade. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, we have taken solid steps and innovative means to keep foreign trade stable, and reached historic milestones in its development. China became the world’s largest exporter of goods in 2009, the largest trader of goods in 2013, and the world’s largest trader in goods and services in 2020. In 2021, China’s trade in goods reached USD6.05 trillion. China accounted for 15.1% of global export. China took up 11.9% of global import, contributing 13.4% to import growth worldwide. China’s trade in services has ranked second in the world for eight consecutive years, and surpassed USD800 billion in 2021, up 70% from 2012.
Stronger comprehensive competitiveness. The independent development capacity of trade has strengthened significantly. 60.9% of export in 2021 was completed through general trade, up by 12.7 percentage points from 2012. 49.5% of the export went to emerging markets, up by 6.2 percentage points from a decade ago. 20% of the export were sourced from central and western regions, up by 5.9 percentage points from 2012. Private enterprises accounted for 57.7% of export, up by 20.1 percentage points in ten years. The past decade also witnessed rapid growth in the export of high-quality, high-tech, high value-added products, most notably, a surge of 150.9% in auto export. In the past decade, domestic and foreign trade integrated steadily, thanks in part to efforts to hold the products from the same production line to the same quality standards, and enhance public information service in this regard.
Stronger impetus from new business models. Cross-border e-commerce, market procurement and other new business forms and models continued to flourish. The number of comprehensive pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce increased to 132, equipped with over 2,000 overseas warehouses. The import and export through cross-border e-commerce grew nearly 10 times in 5 years, reaching RMB1.92 trillion yuan in 2021, up 18.6% year-on-year. The pilot programs for market procurement trade increased to 31, raising the export volume by 7 times in 7 years and delivering a record high of RMB0.93 trillion in 2021, up by 32.1%. There are now over 1,500 businesses providing integrated services in support of foreign trade, including over 130 bonded maintenance service providers with 24,000 employees. Steady progress has also been made in offshore trade.
Greater contribution to economic growth. In 2021, the net export of goods and services drove up GDP by 1.7 percentage points, contributing 20.9% to GDP growth. Foreign trade contributed to stable national employment by creating about 180 million jobs, and new business models like cross-border e-commerce opened up new channels for flexible employment. We actively expanded import to ensure the supply of important agricultural products and energy, and increased consumer goods import to meet diversified needs. Trade surplus was kept at USD676.4 billion.
Greater success of the CIIE. We have held four successful sessions of the CIIE, with deals totaling USD272.27 billion. A variety of high-quality consumer goods and advanced technology products have been introduced through this platform, allowing consumers to enjoy quality products from around the world without having to traveling abroad. With the focus on both the supply and demand side, the CIIE has greatly enhanced the healthy interplay of domestic and international circulations, and become a window of the new development paradigm, and a forum to uphold high-level opening-up and multilateralism. The visitor and exhibitor promotion for the 5th CIIE is now more than 70% complete, and other preparations are well under way.