1. The 70-year history of China’s import development in New China
During the period from 1950 to 1978, at the beginning of the founding of New China, the domestic economy was in vain. The Western capitalist countries adopted a hostile and blockade policy against New China. China’s import trade was very limited. In 1950, China’s total imports were only $ 583 million. After the founding of New China, the Chinese government actively carried out foreign exchanges and trade exchanges, and vigorously expanded economic and trade activities with the vast number of Asian and African countries. With the active efforts of the new Chinese government, by 1978, China ’s total imports exceeded 10 billion US dollars 10.893 billion US dollars, 18.68 times that of 1950. With the growth of China’s total imports, the proportion of China’s total imports in the world’s total imports and rankings have not been significantly improved, but there has been a slight decline.
In 1950, China’s total imports accounted for 0.91% of the world’s total imports, ranking 27th in the world; before the reform and opening up in 1978, China’s import share fell to 0.82%, and the import ranking fell to 29th. In 1978, the total imports of the three developed countries of the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom accounted for 13.70%, 8.96%, and 5.58% of the world ’s total imports, respectively, about 17 times, 11 times, and 7 times the current level of China; Japan and Russia and other neighboring Asian countries have reached 5.88% and 3.72% of imports, far higher than China’s 0.82%; in addition, China is even less than Latin American developing countries Brazil (1.11%) and Venezuela (0.86%). Commodities such as steel, grain, crude oil, logs, cotton, natural rubber, and pulp have always been China’s core import commodities during this period.
During the period 1979-2018, China’s import scale increased significantly, gradually becoming one of the world’s largest import trading countries. In 1979, China’s total imports accounted for less than 1% of the world’s total imports, and China’s import share ranked only 24th in the world. The leap-forward growth of China’s import trade began after China’s accession to the WTO. After the reform and opening up to the period before China’s accession to the WTO, China’s total imports have increased, but the growth rate is relatively small. By 2001, China’s total imports were only 243.553 billion US dollars, about 15 times the 1979.
From 1979 to 2001, China’s import trade showed a steady growth. However, since 2002, China’s total imports have begun to show an exponential growth trend, during this period China’s import trade began to grow by leaps and bounds. Since 2013, China ’s imports have remained roughly at 10% of world imports. Although it is not as good as the US (about 13%), it is much higher than other countries in the same period. In 2018, China’s total imports were approximately 9 times that of 2001, 136 times that of 1979, and 3663 times that of 1950.
Ranked among the top 20 importing countries in the world in 1983, and among the top 10 importing countries in the world in 1999, rapidly rising from the sixth place in 2002 to the third place in 2003, China became the third in the world after the United States and Germany The big importer is also the largest importer of developing countries. In 2009, China’s imports surpassed Germany, making it the world’s second-largest importer after the United States for the first time, and for many years afterwards, China was firmly established as the world’s second-largest importer.
The distribution of China’s import source countries gradually changed from focusing on developed countries to expanding into developing countries. From the perspective of import share, in 1979, about 70% of China’s imports came from the top ten developed countries, compared with less than 10% of China’s imports from the top ten developing countries. However, by 2018, China’s share of imports from the top ten developed countries fell from 69.72% in 1979 to 30.1%; at the same time, China’s share of imports from the top ten developing countries increased from 9.26% in 1979 to 28.13% .
The number of Chinese import sources continues to increase, covering almost all countries in the world. In 1979, China’s import trading partners mainly involved 42 countries and regions in the world. About half of China’s imports came from the top three import source countries, namely Japan, the United States and Germany. As the pace of reform and opening up has accelerated, the scope of China’s import sources has continued to expand. By 2018, China’s import sources have covered more than 230 countries and regions around the world. At the same time, China’s share of imports from South Korea, Japan, and the United States, the three major source countries, fell to 29.8%.
The distribution of China’s import trade subjects has undergone a fundamental transformation. In 1981, the import proportion of China’s state-owned enterprises, foreign-funded enterprises and other enterprises was 99.19%, 0.46% and 0.35% respectively. The distribution of China’s import trade subjects was extremely uneven. State-owned enterprises almost monopolized China’s import trade. By 2018, the distribution of China’s import trade entities has undergone a fundamental change. Foreign-funded enterprises have become the largest importer, with imports accounting for 43.72%; private companies and other types of enterprises account for 30.63% of imports, while state-owned enterprises The proportion of imports is the lowest, about 25.65%.