Tourists go shopping at a duty-free shopping mall in Haikou, south China's Hainan Province, Oct. 1, 2021. (Xinhua/Yang Guanyu)
BEIJING, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Consumption has played a leading role in powering China's economy this year, along with foreign trade which has posted double-digit growth, despite challenges at home and abroad, an official with the Ministry of Commerce said.
Sheng Qiuping, vice minister of commerce, said consumption is a primary engine for economic growth in China, as final consumption contributed 69.4 percent to the expansion in the gross domestic product in the first quarter.
Sheng said consumption is resilient with huge potential in China and the fundamentals for consumption expansion stay positive.
The country in April unveiled guidelines to further tap its consumption potential, with detailed measures to tackle short-term bottlenecks and boost longer-term consumption vitality.
To implement the guidelines, the ministry will help strengthen traditional consumption, boost emerging forms of consumption, encourage consumption in cities and expand consumption in the rural areas.
Sheng believed the rural regions have huge potential for consumption expansion, as the retail sales of rural consumer goods only accounted for 13.4 percent of the total social retail sales.
China's foreign trade has been steady in the first quarter with its total imports and exports up 10.7 percent year on year.
Sheng attributed the positive performances in foreign trade to efforts of businesses, as well as a slew of policies to help enterprises tide over difficulties.
He highlighted the improving structure in foreign trade in the first three months, as the proportion of exports from private enterprises has increased and services trade has registered rapid growth.
The cross-border e-commerce imports and exports reached 434.5 billion yuan (65.54 billion U.S. dollars) in the first quarter, and the exports of electric vehicles jumped 244.6 percent year on year, indicating progress in high-quality development, he said.
Facing challenges in the foreign trade sector, the ministry will work to safeguard smooth logistics and production activities, improve financial support and encourage new business forms such as cross-border commerce, he said.
China's consumption market will further expand, as the country has 1.4 billion people, including 400 million middle-income earners, he said.
Sheng said the Chinese market will remain open and unleash more opportunities for global enterprises, as the fundamentals of the Chinese economy will continue to improve. ■