China was the only major economy in the world to register positive growth in foreign trade in 2020, said Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao.

Amid a global downturn triggered by the COVID-19 Pandemic, the total value of China’s imports and exports in 2020 expanded by 1.9 percent year on year, reaching 32.2 trillion yuan, (nearly 5 trillion U.S. dollars), said Commerce Minister Wang Wentao at a press conference in Beijing.

“This data shows three things: first, [China] was the only major economy in the world to achieve positive trade growth; second, the scale and international share of foreign trade hit a record high; and third, China’s status as the world’s largest trading country has been consolidated,” said Wang.

Wang also stressed that China’s foreign trade is still facing uncertainties in external demand and industrial supply chains

Given the situation, the minister says it will strive to stabilize the overall performance of foreign trade and foreign investment and further enhance policy support.

“This year, we will focus on implementing a series of plans to improve the the quality of imports and exports, integrate trade industries, and facilitate trade. We will steadfastly expand opening-up, firmly stabilize the overall performance of foreign trade and foreign investment, and continue to strengthen policy support. We will work with local governments and relevant authorities to maintain the continuity, stability, and sustainability of policies,” said Wang.

Additionally, the minister spoke about efforts to smooth and stabilize the industrial supply chain through integrated development, expanding markets for foreign trade enterprises by holding influential trade fairs, and strengthening coordination with foreign partners, especially countries related to the Belt & Road Initiative, as well as fostering new business forms and models in the trade sector.

According to Wang, emerging business forms such as cross-border e-commerce and market procurement trade, a trade facilitation scheme designed for small businesses, are playing increasingly important parts in stabilizing and fueling foreign trade.

“China’s cross-border e-commerce transactions reached 1.69 trillion yuan in 2020, up 31.1 percent year on year. Goods exported through market procurement trade totaled 704.54 billion yuan, an increase of 25.2 percent.”

“Both were double-digit, high-speed growths, indicating the strong vitality of new industries and novel forms of business. In the next stage, we will further expand support for these new forms and contribute to stabilizing foreign trade this year,” said the minister.

The ministry will also step up pilot work in 2021 to promote the development of cross-border e-commerce and market procurement trade.