Despite the pandemic, Sino-European trade grew steadily in 2020, which has benefited many Chinese traders, insiders said.
European Union members imported goods worth 383.5 billion euros ($461.93 billion) from China in 2020, a year-on-year rise of 5.6 percent. The EU exported commodities to China amounted to 202.5 billion euros last year, a year-on-year increase of 2.2 percent.
Among the 10 largest commodity trade partners of the EU, China was the only one that saw a bilateral increase of trade. China replaced the United States for the first time to become the EU’s largest trade partner last year.
Jin Lifeng, general manager of Baoding Import and Export Company for Artware in Hebei province, said, “The EU market accounts for about 70 percent of our total exports.”
Jin has worked in the US and European markets for several decades and knows about their differences. “We mainly produce glassware such as vases and the US market did not require much for quality and had stable demands for product styles,” Jin said.
In the European market, products upgrade frequently, which requires companies to be more capable in research and development, Jin said.
Cai Mei, sales manager from Langfang Shihe Import and Export Trade in Hebei, said that the EU market has high standards for product quality and buyers ask companies to offer several kinds of authentication certificates.
The company deals with furniture exports and one-third of its products are exported to the EU market. Its exports stopped for a period in the first half of 2020 and surged in the next half.
Canton Fair continues to work as a platform to help companies expand markets, including the EU market, against the backdrop of severe foreign trade situation in 2021, insiders said.
Cai said delivery prices of products increased due to rise of raw material prices. The ocean shipping fees have also kept rising and some clients have adopted a wait-and-see attitude.
Qingdao Tianyi Group, a wood furniture manufacturer based in Qingdao, Shandong province, has seen steady exports to the EU market in the past few years, yet Wan Baoliang, the company’s deputy general manager, worries about this year’s foreign trade.
“The pandemic has caused the closure of physical stores in the EU and so our export business will definitely be influenced this year unless the pandemic gets under control,” Wan said.
Despite that, Wan said the fair is an important trade platform, having played a key role in helping companies maintain regular clients and develop new ones.
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