China's exports and imports returned to growth trajectories in January thanks to timely policies promoting steady trade growth and the country's growing demand for industrial materials and commodities, officials and analysts said on Thursday.
The country's two-way trade in goods surged 8.7 percent year-on-year to 2.73 trillion yuan ($395.98 billion) in January, the General Administration of Customs said on Thursday.
Exports rose 13.9 percent year-on-year to 1.5 trillion yuan last month, while imports grew 2.9 percent to 1.23 trillion yuan.
China's opening-up efforts and pro-trade policies along with accelerated industrial upgrading and improved corporate vitality will provide steam for the country's trade performance this year, said Chu Shijia, director-general of the comprehensive department of the Ministry of Commerce.
Bai Jingming, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Fiscal Sciences, said China's individual income tax reforms and measures to support private companies can further stimulate growth potential for both imports and exports in 2019.
The monthly tally was partly spurred by the fact that many companies rushed to complete orders before the weeklong Spring Festival, which fell earlier than usual this year, said Wen Bin, chief researcher at China Minsheng Bank.
China's exports recorded a mere 0.2 percent growth in December, while imports slumped 3.1 percent.
"The significant growth in exports in January, despite ongoing uncertainties created by trade tensions, also reflects that the tenacity of China exports is improving along with its structure," Wen said.
The growth of China's exports to the European Union jumped 20.5 percent year-on-year in January. The growth of China's exports to the United States also jumped 1.9 percent from same period a year earlier.
China's exports of mechanical and electrical products grew 11.5 percent year-on-year to 857.51 billion yuan in January, making up 57.1 percent of the country's total exports.
"China has already stopped focusing on the growth of its trade volume, and pays more attention to added value, brand building and structural optimization, so that the country can realize a transformation from being a big trading nation to a strong one," said Xue Rongjiu, deputy director of the Beijing-based China Society for WTO Studies.
Imports of crude oil, coal, natural gas and plastics maintained swift growth in January.
Wang Zhi, director of the Research Center of Global Value Chains at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said that the vigorous growth of energy and resources product imports has benefited from domestic market demand and eased resource constraints in economic development.