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China-Japan trade grows amidst pandemic

Author  :  LIU YUANJIAN and TIAN ZHENG     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2021-10-02

Japan’s trade with China has increased despite the pandemic’s fallout, according to the Blue Book of Japanese Economy, which was released by the Institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and the Social Sciences Academic Press (China) at a seminar on Sept. 17.

According to statistics from Japan’s Ministry of Finance, in 2020, Japan’s exports fell by 11.1% and exports to the United States dropped by 17.3%, but exports to China increased by 2.7%, said Zhang Jifeng, the Blue Book’s editor-in-chief and a research fellow from the Institute of Japanese Studies at CASS. According to statistics from China’s General Administration of Customs, in 2020, the total trade volume between China and Japan reached 317.53 billion US dollars, a year-on-year increase of 0.8%.

In the first half of 2021, Japan’s exports to China amounted to 101.23 billion US dollars, a year-on-year increase of 27%, said Takashima Ryusuke, director-general of the Beijing Office of the Japan External Trade Organization.

“The contrarian growth of China-Japan trade and investment indicates not only the resilience of China-Japan economic relations, but also the increasing dependence of the Japanese economy on China,” Zhang said.

Strengthening China-Japan economic and trade cooperation is of special significance for promoting Japan’s economic recovery, and it is also important for promoting the high-quality development of China’s economy, Zhang said.

Japan’s direct investment in China remains stable, and cooperation in the service industry continues to deepen, Takashima continued. In the context of China’s economic transformation and upgrading, Japanese service industry companies are committed to promoting investment in new business formats, such as experiential consumption.

In November 2020, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the ten ASEAN countries formally signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). RCEP is an integrator of economic and trade rules in the region and a new milestone in the economic integration of East Asia.

“RCEP is the first free trade agreement reached between China and Japan. It not only strengthens rules on investment and intellectual property protection, but also adds regulations on e-commerce and other aspects,” Takashima said.

RCEP provides opportunities for in-depth cooperation between Chinese and Japanese companies and for optimizing the supply chain of the industrial chain. It is of great significance to boosting bilateral economic and trade relations, Takashima noted.

As the current international situation is in a period of change and adjustment, China-Japan economic and trade cooperation is facing unprecedented challenges, said Zhang Yulai, deputy director of the Japan Institute of Nankai University. China and Japan should carry out effective and pragmatic cooperation under the RCEP framework to promote the sustained and in-depth development of bilateral economic and trade relations.

Yang Bojiang, director of the Institute of Japanese Studies at CASS, said that it is particularly important for China and Japan to strengthen economic and trade relations, which is of great significance to the promotion and improvement of bilateral relations. The two sides should further promote economic and trade cooperation, while paying attention to the development prospects in the field of third-party market cooperation.




Editor: Yu Hui

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