China is losing its competitive edge in pricing at the same time that domestic and foreign demand is slack and that combination will make it very difficult to boost exports from the world's second-largest economy, an official at Beijing’s Ministry of Commerce.
The official, Song Lihong, told China Daily in a Thursday interview that, "In past years, when the world economy was doing well, China's foreign trade expanded rapidly and even outpaced the overall growth of world trade. But this time around, the recovery in developed economies or in the world economy as a whole didn't have the usual impact on growth in our foreign trade.
Song said that China will have to work hard for steady export growth in 2014.
According to the paper's report China's foreign trade rose 7.7 percent year-on-year to $3.77 trillion during the January-November period this year. Exports rose 8.3 percent to $2 trillion, and imports climbed 7.1 percent to $1.77 trillion, the paper reported. That netted out to $234.15 billion trade surplus, the report said, citing the General Administration of Customs.
The report also quoted Long Guoqiang, a researcher at the Development Research Center of the State Council, saying, "The United States recovery is based on its monetary stimulus and the improvement of the real estate sector, while Japan's economic improvement came from currency devaluation, which benefits its own exports. What's more, other developing economies will pose more competition for Chinese businesses in developed markets. China's exports in 2014 will not see a significant improvement from this year."
As Chinese labor costs and worker welfare continue to rise the nation's manufacturers are by necessity looking to improve technology and related plant efficiency, experts said.
"Enterprises must enhance product quality and value by relying on innovation, design, marketing and improved logistics. We'll have our own transnational corporations, with a global vision and worldwide reach, if they can integrate resources across borders, Song concluded.