Chinese exports rise by 30.6% in March

Photo: EPA A man working at a wet market near Alipay and WeChat in Shanghai, China, where QR codes are used for payment

Despite the pandemic, the ongoing economic crisis and punitive tariffs, China's exports rose by 30.6% in March compared to the same period last year, marking further strong growth for the country's foreign trade. Customs data released Tuesday also indicated an unexpectedly strong showing for imports, which grew by 38.1%.

Experts put the strong growth rates down to global demand and a low comparison base from last year, when the coronavirus crisis saw the collapse of China's economy - the world's second-largest.

This marks the ninth month of consecutive growth for Chinese exports and a sixth month in a row for incresed imports. In the first two months of the year, China's exports jumped by 60.6%, while imports rose 22.2% in January and February.

"For the entire first quarter, there was an increase in exports of 49%, and an increase in imports of 28%, the customs authority reported.

Despite the trade war and punitive tariffs imposed by the United States, China's exports to the US älso rose by as much as 74.7% in the three months. Imports from the US increased by 69.2%.

As dpa reminds, in 2020, China was the only major economy in the world to see growth. The main reason for that is that the country managed to gain control of the coronavirus last summer, allowing life and economic activity to resume almost as previously.

Now, after recording a 2.3 per cent growth rate last year, the government is expecting "more than 6 per cent" this year.

Beijing continues to take strict measures to prevent fresh outbreaks of Covid-19, however. The authorities have responded to several minor  outbreaks during the past months with curfews, quarantine requirements, mass testing and contact tracing. The country also continues to impose tough restrictions on entries. Anyone re-entering China, whether as a citizen or from abroad, must spend at least two weeks in a quarantine facility following their arrival.

German companies active in China have complained about some of the restrictions, saying not enough visas are being issued to foreigners, regulations are being changed at short notice and in some cases, the facilities for quarantine are poor.

Companies say it is now almost impossible to send employees to China in order to install, maintain or repair equipment under acceptable conditions, according to the German engineering association VDMA.

The association said these were major problems and were damaging business.

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