Laborers to countries also increase in Jan-Apr, imports drop
China's exports to countries alongside the "One Belt and One Road" saw a year-on-year increase of 4 percent in the first four months of 2015, faster than the country's total exports growth, data from the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) showed Tuesday.
The country's exports to countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road amounted to $191.54 billion, accounting for 27.8 percent of China's total exports over the same period, Shen Danyang, a spokesman for MOFCOM, said at a routine press conference.
The country's total exports grew by 1.8 percent year-on-year in the first four months, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
However, China's imports from these economies reached $124.54 billion during the same period, a 23.2 percent year-on-year fall, according to Shen.
"The continued economic downturn forced China to reduce imports from most of the world's countries in the past months and countries along the 'One Belt, One Road' are certain to be adversely affected," Lin Limin, a research fellow at China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times Tuesday.
Lin also said the low industrialization in these countries make their products less attractive to China.
"They need investment from China to help them improve their industrialization and manufacturing capacity," he noted.
China made non-financial outbound direct investment (ODI) in countries along the "Belt and Road" that amounted to $3.72 billion in the first four months, accounting for 10.6 percent of China's total ODI. A majority of the investment flowed to Singapore, Indonesia, Laos and Russia, Shen said.
Besides the investment, China also sent 64,000 workers to these countries, especially Singapore and Russia, from January to April, an 18.5 percent year-on-year growth, data from the MOFCOM showed.
"China's expanding infrastructure construction in these countries has led to China's rising labor exports to these areas," Jia Qingguo, dean of the School of International Studies at Peking University, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
"Chinese have higher technical quality than local labor, and there're no cultural differences between them and Chinese enterprises there," Jia noted.
As for the future trend in the economic and trade cooperation between China and these countries, Jia said that China will have rising imports from these countries in raw materials and agriculture products.
He expects China to export more to these countries in the following years.
"Rising exports can help China maintain its economic growth and avoid a continued economic downturn," he said.
The stable political relations without big divergences in borders and territories between China and these countries are the prerequisite for successfully promoting the "One Belt, One Road" initiative, Jia noted.