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China says trade is facing an “extremely severe” situation and blames geopolitics

Workers load goods for export onto a crane at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China, June 7, 2019.


BEIJING – China’s Ministry of Commerce said on Wednesday that non-economic factors were growing and interfering with the country’s foreign trade, which is facing an “extremely severe” situation in the second half of this year.

“The strong push by some countries for ‘decoupling’, ‘separation’. [supply] “chains” and so-called “risk mitigation” are man-made obstacles that block normal trade,” Li Xingqian, head of the ministry’s foreign trade department, said in Mandarin, according to a CNBC translation He was speaking to reporters at a press conference about the work of the ministry during the first half of the year.

China’s exportsa major contributor to domestic growth, they have fallen in recent months as global growth has slowed.

On Wednesday, Li pointed to the overall slowdown. He also said that because trade had increased during the three years of the Covid-19 pandemic, this had set a high base for this year’s figures.

Li also made direct reference to calls for supply chain diversification.

“Companies say the politicization of trade in some countries has forced orders and production out of the way, hurting the economic interests of both suppliers and buyers,” he said. He added that the ministry would help companies deal with “irrational trade restrictions”.

The ministry did not say anything about its own recently announced export controls, which will take effect on August 1 on two key metals.

The US is using its own export controls in an effort to limit China’s development of high-end technology. Trade tensions between the United States and China have escalated in recent years, prompting other countries to take action as well.

Meanwhile, China seeks to retain and attract foreign investment. apples Tim Cook, TeslaElon Musk and many other business leaders have traveled to China since it relaxed its border restrictions this year.

The Ministry of Commerce said Wednesday that its minister, Wang Wentao, has met with more than 20 visiting executives from foreign companies this year. The ministry reiterated its efforts to establish regular roundtables with foreign companies in China and address operational challenges.

Among other plans, the ministry said it would make changes to allow foreign investors to increase the size of their strategic investments in listed companies.


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