Policy support to stabilize exports amid uncertainties

China is expected to step up policy support to further stabilize its exports, which face a continuous impact from subdued external demand amid rising protectionism and global economic uncertainties, according to

experts and government officials.

As for imports, it is also advisable for the country to take more active measures to stimulate domestic consumption and investment, which will help speed up the recovery of the Chinese economy, they said.

The latest data from the General Administration of Customs on Friday showed that China's January-September foreign trade fell 0.2 percent year-on-year to 30.8 trillion yuan ($4.13 trillion).

Exports grew 0.6 percent on a yearly basis to 17.6 trillion yuan, while imports declined 1.2 percent from a year earlier to 13.2 trillion yuan.

"The GAC will continue to closely monitor the implementation of policy measures, while responding to the demands of exporters and local governments," said Lyu Daliang, the administration's spokesman.

In addition to helping foreign-trade enterprises tap potential in emerging markets, the GAC will introduce new measures to further reduce Customs clearance times for exporters, support the growth of cross-border e-commerce and enhance China's business ties with its major trading partners, Lyu said.

The Ministry of Commerce has also recently rolled out policy measures to facilitate cross-border business trips and boost trade cooperation on new energy vehicles.

"Exporting more innovative, consumption-driven and tech-intensive products can help China diversify its economy and reduce dependency on certain industries and markets, enhancing resilience against economic uncertainties," said Dong Yan, a researcher at the Institute of World Economics and Politics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Experts said weak overseas demand remains the biggest challenge for China's exporters throughout the year, although signs of improvement are being seen.

Zheng Houcheng, chief macroeconomist at Yingda Securities, forecast that export growth will pick up in the current quarter. However, the growth may be marginal, as the increased likelihood of interest rate hikes in the United States may mitigate the upward trend, he said.

Dong said demand from the US and Europe remains somewhat subdued compared to pre-pandemic levels. However, modest signs of recovery are seen in the previously declining China-US trade figures.

Justin Yifu Lin, dean of the Institute of New Structural Economics at Peking University, said exports remain an important driver of the Chinese economy, and tepid exports in recent months have led to reduced investment opportunities for foreign-trade enterprises, affecting domestic job creation and consumption.

Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Friday also pointed to unchanged inflation levels and lukewarm industrial activity in China last month.

"The Chinese government should adopt a more proactive fiscal policy, as well as a more expansionary monetary policy," Lin said.

"With fiscal stimulus measures, we can generate more investment demand, which can benefit the private sector and build their confidence for investment," he said, adding that this will create more jobs and boost people's appetite for consumption.

Zhou Maohua, an analyst at China Everbright Bank, said China's foreign trade has strong resilience and the domestic economic recovery continuously picking up steam, and while global demand may expand slightly, the country will see further growth in both exports and imports in the coming months.

The improving prospects of foreign trade are expected to benefit enterprises selling to markets such as those participating in the Belt and Road Initiative.

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