Emerging Markets / November 21, 2018

Manufacturing and International Trade in China

The People’s Republic of China is a highly centralized state led by the country’s communist party. Located in East Asia, China has a total territory of 9.59 million square kilometers, which is almost the same size as the United States. Geographically, China is mountainous with high plateaus and some deserts as well as scattered plains and various major river deltas. Likewise, the country has a major coastline of 14.500 kilometers.

Manufacturing and International Trade in China

Currently, China has a total population of 1.4 billion citizens, with an average age of 38 years. Furthermore, about 60% of the population lives in an urban setting, notably Shanghai and Beijing. The annual gross domestic product (GDP) of China is US$23.2 trillion (PPP) and the national economy has experienced positive economic growth upwards of 6.7% in recent years. As of today, the national economy is divided into 8% agriculture, 40% manufacturing, and 52% services. Meanwhile, the national labor force is divided into 27% working in the agriculture industry, 29% working in the industrial sector, and 44% working in services. Similarly, the national agriculture industry utilizes about 55% of the national territory, while another 22% is forested.

In terms of natural resources, China has coal, iron ore, petroleum, natural gas, mercury, tin, tungsten, magnetite, aluminum, lead, zinc, uranium, and hydropower potential. Within manufacturing, the national industry is focused on mining, ore processing, metallurgy, coal, machine building, armaments, textiles, apparel, petroleum processing, cement, chemicals, fertilizers, consumer products, food processing, transportation equipment, and aircraft. Simultaneously, the country’s agricultural industry has as main products rice, wheat, potatoes, corn, tobacco, peanuts, tea, apples, cotton, pork, mutton, eggs, fish, and shrimp.

In terms of trade, China is the world’s largest export economy. During 2016, the country imported US$1.23 trillion worth of goods and exported US$2.3 trillion, resulting in a trade surplus of US$1 trillion. Furthermore, that same year, the country’s main export, representing 7.6% or US$173 billion of the total, were computers. On the other hand, China’s main import, representing 8.2% or US$102 billion of all international purchases, was crude petroleum. Meanwhile, China’s main trading partners are the United States, Japan, South Korea, and the European Union.

Unfortunately, in China, some 123.5 million people suffer from undernourishment. In recent years, the average per capita protein intake of animal origin amongst the Chinese population has been 38 grams daily. Simultaneously, land distribution and output in the country have evolved throughout the last half century. Back in 1961, permanent pastures and meadows in China covered 238 million hectares, while arable land covered 102.6 million hectares and permanent crops covered 1.75 million hectares. More recently, by 2016, permanent pastures and meadows had increased to cover 392.8 million hectares, while arable land represented 118.9 million hectares and permanent crops accounted for 16 million hectares.

Likewise, the domestic cereals market in China has evolved during the last half century. Back in 1961, the country devoted approximately 89.7 million hectares of land to the production of cereals and produced 107 million metric tons annually. In 2016, China devoted 96.3 million hectares of land to cereals production and yielded some 580.9 million metric tons.

(Read more about Land Distribution and Trade in Panama)

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