Customs Promoting High-Quality Development of Foreign Trade
（May 20, 2022）
General Administration of Customs
Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, China has accelerated the building of a new system of open economy and made historic achievements in the development of foreign trade. According to Customs statistics, China’s foreign trade has increased both in volume and quality.
First, foreign trade in goods hit new record highs. China’s foreign trade in goods increased from RMB24.4 trillion in 2012 to RMB39.1 trillion in 2021, up by RMB14.7 trillion. China’s foreign trade in goods exceeded RMB30 trillion in 2018 and reached nearly RMB40 trillion in 2021. China’s global market share increased from 10.4% in 2012 to 13.5% last year, further consolidating China’s role as the world’s largest trader in goods. The rapid growth of China’s foreign trade in goods in the past decade fully reflects that China is not only the “world factory”, but also the “world market”, providing the global market with a great
variety of high-quality and inexpensive goods and offering tremendous opportunities for other countries through the vast Chinese market.
Second, China’s role as the world's largest trader in goods has been consolidated. Since 2017, China has been the world's largest trader in goods for five consecutive years. According to the latest data, China's share of global exports in 2021 was 15.1%, a 4percentage points increase compared to that of 2012. The growth volume basically equals China’s share of global exports in 2001 when China joined the WTO. At the same time, China's share of global imports exceeded 10% for the first time in 2013 and had enjoyed a steady increase ever since to 11.9% in 2021.
Third, progress has been made in ensuring high-quality development of foreign trade. Foreign trade entities have been further invigorated. In 2021, China had 567,000 enterprises with exports’ and imports’ records, 1.7 times higher than that of 2012. China’s “circle of friends” in foreign trade has been broadened. From 2013 to 2021, China's trade with countries along the Belt and Road increased from RMB6.46 trillion to RMB11.6 trillion, the share of which in China’s total foreign trade increased from 25% to 29.7%. Development priorities of regions are better aligned. Foreign trade of the central and western regions accounted for 17.7% of China’s total in 2021, a 6.6 percentage points increase compared to 11.1% in 2012. New drivers of foreign trade have been fostered. In 2021, the imports and exports of integrated bonded areas, pilot free trade zones and the Hainan Free Trade Port grew by 23.8%, 26.4% and 57.7% year-on-year, respectively.
In particular, since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has taken active steps to advance international cooperation on COVID-19 response and provided hundreds of millions of masks, protective suits, testing kits and vaccines to the international community. China is working together with trade partners to contribute to the stability of global industrial chain and supply chain and the recovery of world economy.
Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, China Customs has played its due role in promoting high-quality development of foreign trade.
——We have fostered cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative. We have expanded the imports of quality agri-food products to China. From 2013 to 2021, over 400 Customs, Inspection and Quarantine cooperation documents with Belt and Road countries have been signed and more than 100 kinds of quality agri-food products have gained market access to China. We have deepened cooperation with Belt and Road countries to ensure trade security and faster clearance. We have concluded Mutual Recognition Agreements of Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) with 48 countries (regions), 32 of which are Belt and Road countries (regions). We have promoted cooperation and exchange with Belt and Road countries in the area of “Single Window”. According to Customs statistics, from 2013 to 2021, China's imports and exports with countries along the Belt and Road grew from RMB6.46 trillion to RMB11.6 trillion, the share of which in China’s total foreign trade increased from 25% to 29.7%. In the first four months of 2022, China's imports and exports with countries along the Belt and Road reached RMB3.97 trillion, an increase of 15.4%, 7.5 percentage points higher than the overall growth rate of China’s foreign trade.
——We have continuously optimized the business environment at ports. The number of documents required for imports and exports was reduced from 86 to 41, significantly cutting down the overall customs clearance time. In December 2021, the overall Customs clearance time for imports and exports was 32.97 hours and 1.23 hours respectively, which was 66.14% and 89.98% shorter than in 2017, greatly lowering the institutional transaction costs. Through reforming the surety insurance mechanism on tariff, by the end of 2021, we had provided 3,775 enterprises with surety insurance service covering a total of RMB534.02 billion of taxes, thus helping enterprises reduce costs and increase efficiency. We have pressed ahead with procedural optimization, operation coordination and international connectivity of “Single Window”, providing “one-stop” Customs clearance and logistics information services for enterprises and fostering a more enabling business environment at ports, with the sense of fulfillment of foreign trade enterprises and that of people being enhanced.
——We have promoted high-quality development of regional economy. Customs districts of Beijing, Tianjin and Shijiazhuang have established a collaborative working mechanism to support Xiong’an New Area in comprehensively deepening reform and opening-up, promote the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region Pilot Free Trade Zones, ensure rapid response to unusual cases and enhance the integration of Customs operations. Following the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, we have taken active steps to ensure the smooth cross-border movement of people, goods and means of transport in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. We have extended the practice of “Using the same Customs Seal” from between Guangdong and Macao Customs to the entire Greater Bay Area, accelerated the construction of port infrastructure and deepened law enforcement cooperation among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao Customs. We have fully implemented the Outline Development Plan for the Integrated Development of the Yangtze River Delta and taken a lead in issuing two rounds of Customs Key Measures in Supporting the Integrated Development of the Yangtze River Delta, with a view to supporting high-quality development of foreign trade in the Yangtze River Delta. 15 measures from five aspects were released to establish pilot ground and demonstration zones in Pudong, Shanghai for creating a modern socialist Customs. In addition, China Customs has improved the working mechanism and refined supporting measures for the coordinated development of the Yangtze Economic Belt, ecological conservation and high-quality development in the Yellow River basin, the construction of the Chengdu-Chongqing economic zone and the development of the New Land-Sea Transit Routes for the western region, achieving good outcomes.
——We have supported the development of new forms of foreign trade. Customs supervision modes such as “Bonded Import”, “B2B Direct Export” and “Overseas Warehouse” have met the needs of cross-border e-commerce enterprises for faster clearance and helped domestic products “go global”. The model of central warehouse for returned cross-border e-commerce retail import enables the more convenient and faster return of cross-border e-commerce goods. China Customs has expanded the scope of pilot cities (regions) of cross-border e-commerce retail import and developed a unified cross-border e-commerce Customs clearance management system to effectively ensure smooth Customs clearance of cross-border e-commerce goods. At the same time, we have made data exchange possible with cross-border e-commerce enterprises with the support of e-commerce supervision service platforms built by the local governments. Three individual documents concerning transactions, payments and logistics can be automatically checked against declaration information. Under effective supervision, fast Customs clearance has been ensured.
——We have advanced the establishment of a platform for opening up. We have promoted the innovative development of integrated bonded areas. At present, there are 156 integrated bonded areas nationwide. We have innovated the Customs supervision system of pilot free trade zones. Under the principle of opening up wider while ensuring effective supervision, we have developed the Customs control framework for the Hainan Free Trade Port. The imports and exports of integrated bonded areas, pilot free trade zones and the Hainan Free Trade Port have increased significantly.
——We have ensured and promoted the imports of quality agri-food products. Under the precondition of biosecurity, we have expanded the sources of imported quality agri-food products. Currently, 1,107 kinds of agricultural products from 119 countries (regions) have gained market access to China. According to the bilateral SPS-related agreements, we have conducted strict examinations on overseas planting, farming, processing and storage enterprises and urged foreign authorities to strengthen inspection and quarantine of exports. We have implemented the reform of pre-inspection for inbound animals and plants. Since the global outbreak of COVID-19, we have introduced the innovative measure of video inspection for overseas competent authorities and enterprises. Since 2012, a total of more than 71,000 food enterprises exporting to China have been registered in China. We have established three lines of defense, i.e. outside the border, at the border and inside the border, and conducted quarantine and laboratory testing of agri-food products, which not only ensures the import of high-quality agri-food products but also effectively prevents the introduction of major animal and plant epidemics and diseases. We have strengthened collaboration with market regulation authorities and actively carried out exchange, analysis and notification of food safety risks and intensified efforts to the disposal of non-compliant products and enterprises. From 2012 to February 2022, a total of 28,090 batches of imported food from 138 countries (regions) and 1,801 batches of imported cosmetics from 41 countries (regions) were returned or destroyed. We have promoted digital documents and certificates and worked with foreign authorities in networked verification of e-certificates, with the goal of improving the efficiency of Customs clearance and reducing costs at ports.
China’s foreign trade has achieved a stable start this year. However, China is under growing pressure in ensuring stable performance in foreign trade due to various impacts from home and abroad. The CPC Committee of the General Administration of Customs of China will resolutely follow the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council and keep innovating Customs control system, thus contributing to the overall development of foreign trade and setting the stage for the 20th National Congress of the CPC with outstanding achievements.