China retained its position as the world’s largest trading nation in 2015, despite not hitting its target of 6 percent growth in foreign trade last year due to sluggish global demand and dropping commodity prices, the commerce minister said.
While figures released on March 1 showed China’s foreign trade volume reached $3.96 billion in 2015, down 8 percent year-on-year, its foreign trade in goods, export value and total online retail sales ranked first in the world. The country’s total retail sales and trade in services also ranked second in the global market.
Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said that despite double-digit negative growth in global trade last year, the decline in China’s export growth rate was far lower than that of other major economies.
China’s exports accounted for more than 13 percent of the international market, an increase of 1 percentage point after a rapid increase of its share in 2015, the fastest growth in recent years.
“In addition to weak global demand, other uncertainties, such as dropping commodity prices and geopolitical conflicts, as well as outbreaks of terrorism and fatal diseases, have all caused an impact on both global trade and China’s foreign trade volume,” the minister said.
“We have grown used to high growth in the trade sector and are not used to slow growth,” Gao said. “The slower growth means there is a problem, but, in fact, global trade experienced negative growth last year.”
China’s surplus of trade in goods reached $593 billion last year, up 55 percent on a year-on-basis, playing an important role in ensuring the country’s financial security. Trade in services reached $713 billion, up 14.6 percent year-on-year, accounting for a larger global share in services and China’s foreign trade.
Zhou Liujun, director-general of the department of outward investment and economic cooperation at the ministry, said new trade measures, including cross-border e-commerce, multi-modal logistics services and the government’s procurement trade, will help both State-owned and private companies further diversify their global sales channels this year.