From a large trader to a strong trader

On March 2, People’s Daily published the signed paper of Minister of Commerce of PRC Mr. Gao, Hucheng, Develop from a large goods trader to a strong goods trader. The contents are listed as follows:

According to WTO, China’s trade in goods in 2013 totaled USD 4.16 trillion, becoming the largest goods trader in the world. This is a milestone in the process of China’s opening up, and also a significant achievement of China’s adherence to the basic state policy of opening up, and comprehensively participating in the economic globalization, which marksthat a solid step has been made to China’s magnificent goal of comprehensively completing the building of a well-off society. The fruit is not easily earned, and the development path ahead will not be even. We should speed up the development from a larger goods trader to a strong goods trader rather than relaxing, through which, we could better serve the goal of “Two Centenaries” so as to realize the China Dream of the great rejuvenation of Chinese nation.

An Important Milestone of the Development of Open Economy

The Phylogeny of trade signifies the rise and fall of a country and a nation. China is one of the countries developing foreign trade at the earliest in the history, and still ranks the first place in terms of the scale of economy and trade in the world until Ming Dynasty and early Qing Dynasty. In 1840, western countries forced the Qing regime to open up through solid ships and advanced cannons, from when China became a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. From then on, China lost the sovereignty of foreign trade, becoming the semi-colonial foreign trader. The foundation of People’s Republic of China destroyed the privileges of imperialism in China, and the dominant right of foreign trade was again back to China. China’s foreign trade difficultly started. In the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, a historic decision to carry out reform and opening up was made to fully participatein international division of labor and cooperation, actively develop economic and trade exchanges with other countries. Foreign trade broke out into vigorous vitality, and realized a new historic leap.

China’s foreign trade began from the pre-Qin period, flourished in Song and Yuan Dynasty, and declined in late Qing Dynasty. Through the over 60 years’ development since the foundation of PRC, especially the 35 years of reform and opening up, China’s foreign trade ranks the first again, which is a miracle in the phylogeny of the world’s trade. During over30 years, China’s foreign trade nearly doubled every four years, becoming the first of developing countries to be the largest goods trader in the world.

China’s foreign trade has become the most active force inpromoting the economic and social development. During 1978-2013, China’s foreign trade volume increased from USD 20.6 billion to USD 4.16 trillion, an annual growth rate of 16.4%. In recent years, the rate of contribution of foreign trade to economic growth was 18% averagely, driving employment of 180 million people directly or indirectly and creating 18% of national tax revenue.

China’s foreign trade indeed connects the China Dream of 1.3 billion Chinese people with the World Dream of 7 billion people. China has been the largest trade partner of more than 120 countries and regions. From South Pacific Island Countries to African Continent, from East Eurasian Continent to both coasts of the Atlantic, the whole world is enjoying products with super quality and competitive price made in China. It is a reality that China’s continuous development of foreign trade benefits the whole world, and China and the world cannot be separated with each other.

Practice has fully proved that China’s foreign trade has stepped into a development path suitable for China’s national situation and the world’s trend, and sets a successful example that a large developing country making full play of late-mover advantages grows in the trend of economic globalization. The rich practice of China’s foreign trade formed under the correct guidance of China’s Communist Party constitutes the important content of the socialist road with Chinese characteristics, embodies the magnificent creation of socialist theory with Chinese characteristics, shows the huge superiority of socialist system with Chinese characteristics, condenses wisdom and perspiration of hundreds of millions of Chinese people, spreads positive attitudes of China’s reform and opening up and strengthens China’s confidence on the road, theory and system of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Positively face the difficulties and challenges in the development of foreign trade

Being the first power of trade in goods brought us both joys and more calmness and thoughtfulness. At present, the global and national conditions undergo profound changes. Looking at China’s foreign trade as a overall, we are still unable to adapt to the needs of development in new times in many respects and there is still a long and hard way to go to become a strong trading country.

The basis of innovative development needs to be further strengthened. Innovation is the source of vigor to support the development of foreign trade. International competition in modern times is the competition of innovation ability. For a long time, China’s products have depended on its quantity and price edges in competing with international players with the lack of core competitiveness and low added-value. China’s export of mechanical and electrical products and hi-tech products accounted for 57.3% and 29.9% respectively in 2013, but the core technologies of many products are still grasped by foreign countries. Among that, 61.2% of the mechanical and electrical products were produced by foreign-funded enterprises, and 51.1% of them were exports by processing trade; and 73% of the hi-tech products were produced by foreign-funded enterprises and 65.3% of them were exports by processing trade.

Trade in services lags behind the trade in goods. Although China has become a large goods trader, its trade in service is comparatively slow. The total import and export of China’s trade in services in 2013 amounted to USD539.64 billion, only half of that of U.S.; China is a large goods trader and also a country with the most deficits in its trade in services, a deficit of USD118.46 billion in 2013. China’s structure of service export needs to be optimized and the export of knowledge-intensive service like finance and insurance still accounts for a small part.

The trade system is not perfect enough. In recent years, China has constantly reformed and improved policies on tax refund, export credit and customs-clearance facilitation. The overall environment has improved obviously. However, there are still many policies encouraging one-way export and two-way mechanism to promote or limit the trade has not been set up and phenomena of blindly seeking the speed and scale still exist. Therefore, how to build a trade and investment ruling system that is adaptive to both China’s actual situation and high international standards is a major and urgent task of China’s foreign trade development.

The environment for foreign trade development is not optimistic. Internationally, world economy is at a period of deep adjustment and it’s not easy to resume the constant and rapid growth of market demands before the financial crisis. Domestically, the labor cost has been rising in recent years and factors like resources, energy and environment began to limit the economic development. Therefore, how to develop new competitive edges on the basis of consolidating the traditional edges as soon as possible has become an important issue to be solved in foreign trade development.

Forge Ahead to Build a Strong Trading Country

It’s not easy to reach the top of the mountain and it’s even more difficult to stay at the top. We will, adhering to the spirits of the 18th CPC National Congress and the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, focus on developing new edges, aim to improve comprehensive benefits, seek for common interests and win-win cooperation, as well as accelerate to adjust strategies of imports and exports so as to turn a large trading country into a strong one and better serve for the goal of building a well-off society, and realizing the great rejuvenation of Chinese people and the Chinese dream.

Adhere to the opening-up and unswervingly insist on foreign trade development. A strong trade power is the unification of its quality and quantity. It requires both the quality and quantity, being large and strong. We’ll, based on China’s reality of having a large population with limited resources, adhere to the opening-up policies as always, aim to improve the quality and benefits of the development and come to use two markets and two kinds of resources at a higher level in principles of balancing the layout, winning by the quality, being multiple complementary and multiple-point supporting while maintaining a reasonable growth of foreign trade.

Carry out innovation-driven development and accelerate to develop new edges of foreign trade competitiveness. There is only sun-set product rather than sun-set industries. We need to speed up to transform traditional industries by using modern technologies, improve the technology and fashion contents of labor-intensive products, and maintain the shares of labor-intensive products in the international market. We’ll aim to promote the integration of trade, science and industries, encourage foreign trade companies to seek innovation in technology, business mode and trades formats, and develop new competitive edges in the core of technology, brand, quality and service. To positively promote the trade in services and exports of intelligence and technology-intensive services, so as to form a positive interaction of trade in goods and trade in services as well as good environment for coordinative development.

Comprehensively deepen reform, and build a new sustainable development mechanism for foreign trade. Improve foreign trade promotion policies that accord with China’s national situation and international conventions, and embody the requirements of foreign trade development in the new era and establish a quality and efficiency oriented trade promotion system. Accelerate the system construction of import promotion policies, clear up unreasonable restrictions on import, and promote the harmonious development of import and export. Promote the integrated development of Free Trade Park (Port) construction, investment agreement negotiation and amendment of laws and regulations concerning foreign matters; deepen reform of finance and fiscal taxation, investment, finance, foreign exchange and circulation, release bonus of system and stimulate the vitality of foreign trade entities. Optimize the work mechanism of anti-monopoly, trade remedies and industrial safety review to safeguard national economic security.

Adhere to the principle of mutual benefit and win-win and actively participate in the formulation of global economic and trade rules. A large country should undertake responsibilities. From now on, China must step onto the stage of international governance to make full play of the influence of a large goods trader, and strengthen China’s ability of providing public products to the world and fulfill the responsibilities as a large country. Continue to take multilateral trading system as the main channel of promoting the liberalization of global trade and development, firmly stick to trade liberalization and promote the multilateral trading system to develop to the direction of balance, general benefits and win-win. Adhere to the principle of open, inclusive and transparent, participate in regional trade cooperation and develop the free trade network that distributes in the whole world. Optimize global value chain, reinforce the coordination of trade policies, and assist developing countries in strengthening the establishing of trade ability.

The strong pass is like a wall of iron, with firm strides, we are conquering its summit. We firmly believe that under the guidance of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the General Secretary, the goal of becoming a strong goods trader will be surly achieved, and China’s foreign trade will write down its own chapter during the process of realizing the China Dream—bring about a great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation by dint of unremitting endeavor of all persons engaging in foreign trade.


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