Shanghai-Arab trade thrives: Surge in volume, diversification| June 03, 2024

Shanghai-Arab trade thrives.jpg

Officers from Shanghai Customs inspect a domestically produced car. [Photo/Chen Jia]

Trade between Shanghai and Arab nations has flourished, demonstrated in a substantial surge in trade volume and diversification of trade structures, according to statistics from Shanghai Customs.

According to Shanghai Customs, the import and export activities between Shanghai's ports and 22 countries from the League of Arab States have witnessed a remarkable upswing, reaching a total trade value of 110.07 billion yuan ($15.20 billion) in the first four months of 2024. This figure represents a significant year-on-year increase of 13.5 percent, underscoring the burgeoning trade relations between Shanghai and Arab nations.

Furthermore, trade with member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council has also flourished, with the import and export volume through Shanghai's ports reaching 81.03 billion yuan during the first four months of 2024, marking a notable year-on-year growth of 12.2 percent.

Shanghai's thriving industrial base and comprehensive industrial ecosystem have played a pivotal role in driving this economic growth. Notably, in the first four months of this year, Shanghai Customs facilitated the export of mechanical and electrical products worth 69.14 billion yuan to Arab countries, reflecting a substantial year-on-year increase of 23.1 percent.

On the other end, Arab countries, known for their abundant oil and gas reserves and dynamic chemical industry, have been pivotal in Shanghai's import landscape. Raw plastics, particularly polyethylene and polypropylene, constitute 40 percent of the total import value from Arab countries to Shanghai, according to Shanghai Customs.

Since the beginning of 2024, Qingpu Customs, a subsidiary of Shanghai Customs, has inspected and green lit a total of 1,962 tons of imported polyethylene from Saudi Arabia, showcasing the growing trade flows between the two regions. To expedite the customs clearance process and ensure efficient trade operations, Qingpu Customs has implemented a combined tax collection and early declaration model. This innovative approach not only streamlines the release of goods, but also reduces waiting times for document clearance in order to further enhance the trade efficiency between Shanghai and its Arab counterparts.