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China-ASEAN bilateral trade annually growth rate hits 16.5% from 1991 to 2020: customs Release date: 2021-09-13    Source:Global Times

Trade between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) increased from $8.36 billion in 1991 to $685.28 billion in 2020, an average annual growth rate of 16.5 percent, according to customs statistics released on Friday.

The growth was 3.4 percentage points higher than the overall average annual growth rate of China's foreign trade during the same period, General Administration of Customs said.

In 2020, ASEAN became China's largest trading partner, and China has maintained its status as ASEAN's largest trading partner for the 12th consecutive year. In the first eight months of this year, China’s imports and exports to ASEAN were $553.92 billion, an increase of 33.3 percent, accounting for 14.5 percent of China’s total foreign trade during the same period, the customs said.

The customs said commodity structure is continuously optimized.

In the years following the 1990s, labor-intensive products represented by textiles and clothing accounted for a gradual increase in the proportion of China’s exports to ASEAN, while imports of crude oil, rubber and logs from ASEAN increased substantially during the same period.

In terms of exports, in 1993, when the bilateral trade volume exceeded $10 billion for the first time, China’s exports of mechanical and electrical products to ASEAN were only $1.53 billion, which reached $204.48 billion in 2020. The proportion of mechanical and electrical products in China’s exports to ASEAN increased from 28.9 percent in 1993 to 53.3 percent in 2020.

In terms of imports, China imported only $690 million in mechanical and electrical products from ASEAN in 1993, and increased to $159.02 billion in 2020, and the proportion increased from 11.1 percent in 1993 to 52.7 percent in 2020.

As of the end of 2020, Chinese companies have benefited from imports of goods from the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area values at 3.3 trillion yuan ($511 billion), an average annual increase of 27 percent; more than 90 percent of the goods between the two sides now enjoy zero-tariff treatment, with a total tax reduction of 314.9 billion yuan.

Customs officials have said cross-border logistics between the two parties are improved over time. In the first seven months of this year, 3,154 trains and 314,000 TEUs were shipped on the new western land-sea corridor, a year-on-year increase of 96 percent and 287 percent respectively.

Looking ahead, the officials said China would actively promote economic and trade ties with ASEAN by enhancing cooperation in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic and jointly pushing forward the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement.