Flexibility needed in trading links with Tokyo

Updated: 2014-09-27 08:29

By Zhong Nan(China Daily)

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China and Japan need to increase the flexibility of their business ties and reduce administrative intervention when political divergence occurs, trade experts said.

Trade between the countries declined in 2013 despite the devaluation of the Japanese yen and China becoming the world's largest goods trader.

Chen Yongjun, a professor at the Renmin University of China School of Business in Beijing, said even though political tensions were primarily responsible for the slide in trade last year, prospects were improving in the first half of 2014 as shipments increased after two years of declines.

Total trade volume rose by 4.4 percent to $168.4 billion in the first half of 2014, in contrast to the double-digit decrease in the same period last year, according to a report by the Japan External Trade Organization in August.

Thanks to the expansion of China's domestic demand and industrial production, Japanese exports in transportation equipment and general machinery saw a double-digit increase, resulting in an overall rise in exports for the first time in three years.

The trade organization forecast that China's economy will continue to grow in the second half of 2014, supported by the Chinese government's policies to boost the economy. Automobiles and their components, as well as iron and steel, are expected to increase, with continuous stable growth in industrial production and consumption.

Japan was China's fifth-largest trading partner in 2013. Bilateral trade declined 5.1 percent year-on-year to $312.5 billion, accounting for 7.5 percent of China's total trade value, according to the General Administration of Customs.

Major Japanese exports to China are electrical and mechanical products, base metals and their products, transportation facilities, chemicals, and optical and medical products.

"As China is developing a Silk Road economic belt with neighboring nations and other trading partners, Japan, an export-dominated island country, is certainly keen to ship more products to the Central Asian and East European markets through this shortcut trade route," Chen said.