An employee arranges stuffed toys that will be exported to Europe and North America at a factory in Lianyungang, East China's Jiangsu province.[Photo/Xinhua]
China's foreign trade volume is expected to exceed $4 trillion in 2017 if there are no special circumstances based on figures accumulated in the first 11 months, the Ministry of Commerce predicted on Thursday.
Gao Feng, the ministry's spokesman, said China has been resolutely pushing forward supply-side structural reform in foreign trade. The labor, capital and resource utilization efficiency, as well as environmental protection awareness of domestic manufacturers have been effectively improved.
The country's foreign trade volume totaled 25.14 trillion yuan ($3.7 trillion) between January and November, up 15.6 percent year-on-year, official data show.
"The variety, quality and grade of Chinese products are being upgraded to higher-end and intelligent development by players at home to compete with their rivals in global markets," he said. "China's foreign trade has remained a driving force of the national economy."
China will push forward a new pattern of all-round opening-up to pursue mutual benefit with the rest of the world, according to a statement released after the Central Economic Work Conference which concluded last week.
The nation will raise its overall level of imports and reduce import tariffs on some products to promote more balanced trade, it said.
Regarding the outlook for China's foreign trade in 2018, Gao said all parties including various governments bodies and businesses are generally optimistic about global economic growth next year.
According to a forecast by the International Monetary Fund, the global economy is expected to grow by 3.7 percent next year, around 0.1 percentage points faster than the global economic growth expected for 2018.
International trade in goods and services will also grow at a rate of 4 percent in 2018, higher than the average annual growth rate of 3.4 percent from 2013 to 2017, exceeding the rate of global economic growth.
"From the domestic point of view, we will continue to encourage companies to enhance their innovation-driven growth ability, increase the contribution of scientific research and development to foreign trade, and raise production efficiency in a sustainable manner," said Gao.
To achieve the long-term target, the Ministry of Commerce plans to further enhance China's role as a major global trading partner before 2020 and deploy more resources to maintain a steady growth in international trade, make efficient use of foreign investment and ensure Chinese companies invest overseas in an orderly way in 2018, according to official documents released earlier this week.
"China's foreign trade is shifting from a phase of rapid growth to a phase of high-quality development," said Ma Yu, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.