ZAGREB, June 11 (Xinhua) -- Croatian experts spoke highly of China's foreign trade performance, as China's official data on Thursday showed that in the first five months of 2022, the country's foreign trade volume gained 8.3 percent year on year to 16.04 trillion yuan (2.51 trillion U.S. dollars), outpacing the 7.9-percent growth in the January-April period.
In an interview on Friday, Mladen Vedris, a professor of economics at the University of Zagreb, told Xinhua that he was "fascinated" by the performance of the Chinese foreign trade despite the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This shows not only the incredible resilience of the Chinese economy, but also the wisdom of the Chinese leadership to open the way for the Chinese economy under difficult conditions," he said.
China has maintained economic relations with the European Union (EU) and the United States, Vedris noted, voicing hope that it would continue to be so in the future, as "free trade must be the goal of all countries in the world and politics must not be an obstacle to economic cooperation."
The EU ranks the second largest trade partner of China, and the United States the third. According to the data of China's General Administration of Customs (GAC) published on Thursday, during the first five month this year, China's trade with its top three trading partners -- the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the EU, and the United States -- expanded by 8.1 percent, 7 percent, and 10.1 percent from a year ago, respectively.
"We in Europe have been fascinated by the rapid Chinese economic growth" as there have been almost no examples in history of one country developing at a speed so fast, which, on the other hand, justifies China's reform and opening-up as well as its pursuit of policies of peace and cooperation in the world, Vedris said.
According to Vedris, China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is expected to offer new and more opportunities for Europe, including Croatia.
"When it comes to the economy, we can certainly learn a lot from China," Vedris said, adding that as Croatia and China are friendly countries, Croatia needs to have better, more fruitful economic cooperation with China.
Vedris was echoed by Ljubo Jurcic, a professor of economics at the University of Zagreb, who told Xinhua that he believed the global supply chain is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and the Chinese trade has made a significant growth.
China's economic development has been "impressive," Jurcic said, adding that in just 30 years, China has achieved the economic progress that took the West 200 years to accomplish.
China has invested a lot in science and technology and China's capacities now are "strong and effective," Jurcis said, voicing belief of the huge potential of China's domestic market as well as China's further high-quality development in the future.
In addition, Damir Novotny, a Croatian economic analyst, expected China's economic growth to be higher next year.
"For 2023, I expect even bigger growth in China because export and investments are the main drivers of the Chinese GDP," he told Xinhua, adding that China's domestic consumption will further promote the economic growth. ■