15th May 2024: Foreign trade data in April

This episode contains segments on:

  • April’s foreign trade data, consumer price index and producer price index;
  • Draft regulations on lithium batteries with comments from Ms Wang Pei, Chair of the Automotive Working Group; and
  • China’s new agreements with Serbia and Hungary.

Also, listeners are invited to join the Cybersecurity Conference 2024 in Shanghai on 21st May.


We’d love to hear your feedback. Contact us at website@europeanchamber.com.cn.

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Read more:

China foreign trade data, April (GAC)



China price indices, April (NBS)



Draft regulations on lithium batteries (MIIT)


China’s new agreements with Serbia, and Hungary



European Chamber event: Cybersecurity Conference 2024



RUI: Hello and welcome to China ShortCuts,

MARIANN: the European Chamber’s weekly catchup on China’s business landscape.

RUI: This episode was recoded on 15th May 2024.


RUI: Data released by China’s Customs Administration on 9th May indicated a slight recovery of exports from the previous year for April, but a notable change in the destination of exports. At the same time, the value of imports grew at the fastest pace in over two years.

MARIANN: The value of exports in April increased 1.5 per cent year-on-year. This uptick comes after a sharp fall in March. The latest improvement could largely be attributed to a significant increase of China’s exports to developing countries. The cumulative value of exports to both Vietnam and Brazil in the first four months of 2024 increased by over twenty per cent compared to the same period in 2023. Meanwhile, the value of exports to the European Union decreased 4.8% year-on-year in the January-April period.

The value of imports expanded 8.4 per cent in April from a year ago, when a sharp drop was recorded. Imports from the EU contributed slightly over 10 per cent of China’s overall imports in April. The largest import source was the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, from where almost 15 per cent of China’s imports came in April.


RUI: On 8th May, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology published draft rules on the lithium battery sector aimed at improving the sustainability of lithium batteries.

MARIANN: The draft rules attempt to increase the quality of lithium batteries produced by the booming sector by raising minimum standards for energy density, lifespan, and other specifications that affect the sustainability of lithium batteries.

RUI: Wang Pei, Chair of the European Chamber’s Automotive Working group commented on the announcement by highlighting that most standards listed in the new version of the guidelines are still lower than those already met by the majority of EV batteries available on the market. She also highlighted the focus on the sustainability of EV batteries.

Wang Pei: With the development of the NEV market, the government needs to upgrade the relevant basic requirements to keep pace with the NEV and battery development, and in order to address the climate changes and in response to the decarbonization targets, there is decarbonization requirement, for example, carbon footprint is mentioned in the new version of the directive. It is not a mandatory directive, but a guideline to the battery industry technology innovation and quality improvement.


RUI: Consumer prices continued to increase slightly in April, while the fall in producer prices slowed somewhat compared to the two previous months.

MARIANN: China’s consumer price index rose 0.3% year-on-year, which was higher than analysts had projected and also higher than the uptick recorded in the previous month. Over the past year, consumer prices have fluctuated between deflation and inflation. While the index showed a continuous  increase in prices for the past three consecutive months, the year-on-year growth rate stayed below 1 per cent against a relatively low base from last year.

The producer price index declined 2.5 per cent from the same period last year. While the rate of decline was slightly lower than in the previous two months, it still indicated a somewhat steeper drop in prices than analysts had expected. Producer prices in China have been falling since October 2022.


RUI: Chinese President Xi Jinping concluded a 5-day trip to France, Serbia and Hungary on 10th May 2024.

MARIANN: This was the Chinese’s leader’s first trip to the European continent since 2019. The visit saw the signing of 28 and 18 new cooperation deals with Serbia and Hungary, respectively. Most of these cooperation deals for both countries covered agriculture, media, science and education, and tourism. China also signed new deals with Hungary to cooperate on infrastructure and nuclear energy. Chinese car manufacturer Great Wall Motors is reportedly considering building a factory in Hungary, following previous announcements by car manufacturer BYD and battery-maker CATL of plans to build factories in the country.


RUI: China has recently introduced key policies in the fields of cross-border data transfer, cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence. For instance, unveiled in August 2023, the inaugural Generative Artificial Intelligence Service Management Interim Measures outline regulations governing AI services, including data training, manual annotation, and user information.

MARIANN: Released in December 2023, the draft Cybersecurity Incident Reporting Management Measures established reporting standards and guidelines for handling cybersecurity breaches. Most recently, the new rules for cross-border data transfer were launched in March.

RUI: Join us in Shanghai on 21st May for the European Chamber’s Cybersecurity Conference 2024, that will bring together professionals and experts to share their insights on the future of China’s data security landscape and possible solutions for foreign companies to adopt the right approaches to cybersecurity and compliance.


MARIANN: Thanks for listening, and don’t forget to tune in again next week.

RUI: In the meantime, please find useful links in the episode notes.

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