China: Exports Fall 7.5% in March

Nevertheless, in quarterly terms, exports rose 1.5% from January to March. In Verona, China protests “blatantly protectionist measures” taken by the European Commission

Wang Wentao

Trade wars, investigations, accusations of dumping, and protectionist barriers are taking a heavy toll on China’s foreign trade, with exports down 7.5% in March compared with the results recorded in the corresponding month of 2023. According to the Customs Administration of China, the country exported $279.7 billion worth of goods and services in the third month of the year.

This result is “contrary to the cumulative export growth of 7.1% recorded in January-February 2024.” And according to the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post, these data “do not take into account estimates by Chinese financial data provider Wind, which forecast a 2% drop in overseas shipments in March.”

According to Chinese and international analysts, “the high comparative base of March 2023, when China recorded a 14.8% increase in exports, has affected the performance.” This is also supported by the fact that in quarterly terms, exports grew by 1.5% from January to March, recovering from the 1.2% contraction recorded from October to December 2023.

As for Chinese imports, they fell 1.9% year-on-year in March, in contrast to the cumulative 3.5% growth recorded in the first two months of 2024.

Meanwhile, Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao sharply criticized the European Union’s protectionist measures as they “undermine trust.” China is “perplexed” by protectionist measures adopted by the European Commission in sectors such as the auto industry and electricity, which contradicts its vocation to support the energy transition, as well as “undermines trust in cooperation.” As Wang said at the Italy-China Business Dialogue Forum now underway in Verona, “it is perplexing that the European Commission has taken actions that block cooperation in sectors, which are so important for the energy transition.” It is very difficult, almost impossible, for Wang to understand how Brussels “can, on the one hand, fly the flag of energy development and transition and, on the other hand, take blatantly protectionist measures.”