Tourists shop at a duty-free mall in Haikou, south China’s Hainan Province, Oct. 1, 2021. (Xinhua/Yang Guanyu)
BEIJING, May 7 (Xinhua) — Consumption has played a leading role in boosting China’s economy this year, as well as foreign trade which recorded double-digit growth despite domestic and international challenges, said a Commerce Ministry official.
Sheng Qiuping, vice minister of commerce, said consumption is the main driver of economic growth in China, with final consumption contributing 69.4 percent to the expansion of gross domestic product in the first quarter.
Sheng said consumption was resilient with huge potential in China and the fundamentals for the consumption expansion remained positive.
In April, the country unveiled guidelines to further tap its consumption potential, with detailed measures to tackle short-term bottlenecks and boost longer-term consumption vitality.
To implement the guidelines, the ministry will help strengthen traditional consumption, stimulate emerging forms of consumption, encourage consumption in cities, and expand consumption in rural areas.
Sheng believes that rural areas have huge potential for expanding consumption, as retail sales of rural consumer goods account for only 13.4 percent of total social retail sales.
China’s foreign trade remained stable in the first quarter, with its total imports and exports rising 10.7 percent year on year.
Sheng attributed the positive performance in foreign trade to the efforts of enterprises, as well as a series of policies aimed at helping enterprises overcome difficulties.
He pointed to the improvement in the structure of foreign trade in the first three months, as the proportion of private enterprise exports increased and service trade recorded rapid growth.
Cross-border e-commerce imports and exports reached 434.5 billion yuan ($65.54 billion) in the first quarter, and electric vehicle exports jumped 244.6 percent year on year, indicating progress in the high-quality development, he said.
Faced with the challenges of the foreign trade sector, the ministry will strive to safeguard the smooth running of logistics and production activities, improve financial support and encourage new forms of business such as cross-border trade, a he declared.
China’s consumer market will continue to grow as the country has 1.4 billion people, including 400 million people with middle incomes, he said.
Sheng said the Chinese market will remain open and provide more opportunities for global companies as the fundamentals of the Chinese economy continue to improve. ■