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China Trade +16% Feb 2022

Chinese international trade rose by 15.9% in January and February of this year, according to the latest release of the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC), which combined trade data for the first two months due to the Chinese New Year.

Based on the preliminary data published on 7 March 2022, the total trade with foreign partners reached USD 973 billion, a 15.9% increase compared to USD 834 billion in the same period of last year. Exports grew by 16.3% over a year earlier to USD 545 billion, while imports totalled USD 429 billion, a +15.5% rise.

The European Union is the first trading partner with USD 137 billion of total trade, an increase of 14.8% from the same period of last year. Chinese exports to the EU members grew by 24.2%, while Chinese imports decreased by 0.2%, due to the strong contraction of the imports from Germany (-1.9%) and the Netherlands (-17.5%). Overall, Germany is the leading partner of China in the EU, with total trade of USD 37 billion (+6.8%), followed by the Netherlands (USD 20 billion, +15.3%), France (USD 13 billion, +13.6%), and Italy (USD 13 billion, +23.5%). About Italy, it shall be highlighted that China increased its exports to Italy by 39.1% in the first two months of the year, while Chinese imports from Italy grew by 1.5%.

The ASEAN members represent together the second trading partner of China, with a total trade of USD 137 billion, a 13.1% increase over the previous year, despite the 4.7% decrease of the trade between China and Vietnam, the first trading partner of China among ASEAN countries, after the increase of 67% recorded in the first two months of 2021.

The United States are the third trading partner and the main destination of Chinese exports: in the first two months of the year, China exported to the USA more than USD 92 billion (16.8% of total Chinese exports, +13.8%), while imports from the USA in the same period were USD 32 billion, +8.3% over a year earlier.

2022 is also the year of the RCEP, which entered into force on 1 January 2022 after being ratified by China and other nine members (namely Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Japan, Laos, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam). The largest free trade zone by aggregated GDP of its members aims to provide a greater and freer access to the markets in the major Asia – Pacific countries, by reducing tariffs and investment barriers. Combined, the RCEP partners accounted for 29.8% of the total Chinese trade in the first two months of this year (USD 290 billion, an increase of 12.7% over the same period of 2021 despite the slowdown in the trade with Japan and Australia); in particular, China sourced from RCEP partners 34.9% of its total imports.


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