China ‘biggest victim’ of anti-globalization trend
China’s trade in goods in 2016 edged down 0.9 percent from 2015, after enjoying a trajectory of recovery over the final two quarters, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said Friday.
The total trade volume in goods, denominated in yuan, stood at 24.33 trillion yuan ($3.53 trillion) in 2016, with exports declining 2 percent year-on-year to 13.84 trillion yuan and imports increasing 0.6 percent over the last year to 10.49 trillion yuan.
China’s 2016 trade surplus meanwhile stood at 3.35 trillion yuan, down 9.1 percent yearon-year.
In an overall turbulent year, the nation’s trade volume showed a trajectory of recovery and stabilization.
“Looking into 2017, uncertainties will remain given the lukewarm forecasts for world economic growth from institutions such as the IMF, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the WTO. It is difficult for China to remain unaffected,” customs spokesman Huang Songping told a press conference on Friday.
Liu Xuezhi, a senior analyst at the Bank of Communications, said that based on the stabilizing trend shown by China’s exports, as well as signs of recovery seen in other exporting nations in Asia, we can expect exports to see a return to growth in 2017.
The country’s current industrial structure, in the middle of a transformation, also presents challenges to trade, along with other factors such as rising costs, noted Huang.
“The rising trends of anti-globalization and trade protectionism, with record high levels of trade restrictions from the world’s major trading nations, have left China as the biggest victim,” Huang said.
In 2016, a total of 119 trade remedy investigations totaling $14.34 billion were launched against China by 27 countries and regions, Huang said, citing data from the Ministry of Commerce. This saw the value of trade probes jump 76 percent year-on-year.
Liu said Trump’s trade policy on China is a major source of uncertainty.
“Most of the US’ trade deficit comes from trade with China, and the market is watching closely how the new US president is going to act, but nobody knows what exactly he is going to do until he does it,” Liu noted.