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A view of the fully automated container terminal at the Port of Qingdao in Qingdao, East China's Shandong province, June 8, 2018. [Photo/IC]
East China's Shandong province recorded 1.31 trillion yuan ($180 billion) in foreign trade in the first eight months of this year, an increase of 7.8 percent over the same period last year, according to Jinan and Qingdao customs.
Exports totaled 714.39 billion yuan, up 7.1 percent year on year, while imports totaled 597.84 billion yuan, up 8.6 percent.
China's overall foreign trade increased by 3.6 percent in the same period, with exports rising by 6.1 percent and imports up by 0.8 percent.
In the first eight months, exports and imports of private enterprises in Shandong reached 842.64 billion yuan, up 12.7 percent, accounting for 64.2 percent of the province's total foreign trade value.
"The structure of Shandong's export commodities has been continuously optimized. Private enterprises, which account for more than 60 percent of Shandong's foreign trade, maintained a growth rate of 12.7 percent. This is far higher than the overall growth rate of foreign trade," said Liu Sai, an official from Jinan customs.
"Despite the economic turndown, private enterprises are proving to be extremely resilient," Liu added.
In the same period, exports and imports of foreign-funded enterprises in the province totaled 355.58 billion yuan, accounting for 26.3 percent of Shandong's foreign trade, while the foreign trade volume of State-owned enterprises recorded 123.97 billion yuan, accounting for 9.4 percent of the total.
In the first eight months, Shandong's import and export to countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative increased by 16.9 percent to 373.79 billion yuan, accounting for 28.5 percent of the total.
In addition, Shandong-based enterprises have actively explored diversified international markets and maintained double-digit growth rate in the EU, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Brazil, Russia, Australia, India, and other countries and regions.
The steady growth of foreign trade benefits from the continuous optimization of the development environment. The master plan to build a demonstration area for local economic and trade cooperation between China and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Qingdao was approved in July, which makes Shandong the a bridgehead for connectivity between China and SCO countries.
The China (Shandong) Pilot Free Trade Zone was inaugurated in August, which provides institutional support and injects vitality toward the development of Shandong's foreign trade.
"These policies promote the transformation and upgrading of Shandong's foreign trade system and have had a positive impact on improving trade facilitation and fostering new trade forms," said Liao Jian, an official from Qingdao customs.