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Foreign investor confidence in China’s prospects continues to strengthen as the economy maintains restorative growth momentum, which drove up investment inflow in the first two months of the year, a Ministry of Commerce (MOC) spokesperson said on Thursday.

In particular, foreign investment in high-tech industries registered notable growth as China accelerates its construction of a new development paradigm, said spokesperson Gao Feng. The new development paradigm refers to “dual circulation,” in which domestic and overseas markets reinforce each other, with the domestic market as the mainstay.

He said that industries hit hard by the COVID-19 epidemic last year, including the hotel and catering sectors as well as wholesale and retail trade, saw a quick rebound.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Chinese mainland, in actual use, expanded 31.5 percent year on year to 176.76 billion yuan in the first two months, earlier MOC data showed.

In U.S. dollar terms, inflow rose 34.2 percent year on year to 26.07 billion U.S. dollars.

Foreign investment in the services industry came in at 141.74 billion yuan (21.78 billion U.S. dollars) during the period, up 48.7 percent year on year.

FDI in the Chinese mainland, in actual use, expanded 6.2 percent year on year to a record high of 999.98 billion yuan in 2020.

China maintained its position as the European Union (EU)’s largest trading partner as of January, according to data published by Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office, on Thursday.

In the first month of 2021, the EU exported goods to the value of 16.1 billion euros (about 19.2 billion U.S. dollars) to China, up by 6.6 percent year-on-year, while the imports from China declined by 3.8 percent to 33.3 billion euros.

Since July 2020, China has been the bloc’s top trading partner, a position previously held by the U.S., according to the EU’s statistical body.

A total of goods worth 28.2 billion euros were exported from the EU to the U.S. in January, 9.6 percent less than in the same period of last year. More notably, the goods imports from the U.S. shrank by 26.3 percent year-on-year, according to Eurostat.

Britain, the former EU member state, saw a remarkable slump in trade with the EU in January, as it formally broke up with the bloc after a transition period, thus the trade in goods between them is now subject to customs.

According to Eurostat, EU exports to and imports from Britain in January dropped by 27.4 percent and 59.5 percent respectively. Nevertheless, Britain remained the EU’s third-largest trading partner, following China and the U.S.

The EU recorded an 8.4-billion-euro surplus in trade in goods with the rest of the world in January, although exports and imports were down by 10.8 percent and 16.9 percent year-on-year respectively.

China’s Tianjin Municipality saw robust foreign trade growth from January to February, according to the municipal commission of commerce.

Its foreign trade grew 21.1 percent year on year to 120.3 billion yuan (about 18.5 billion U.S. dollars) in the first two months of 2021, said the commission on Thursday.

The growth was mainly driven by exports, which grew 45.7 percent year on year to 52.1 billion yuan, while imports edged up by 7.3 percent to 68.3 billion yuan.

Private enterprises have become a major driver for trade growth. Their foreign trade rose at a faster pace of 39.5 percent year on year to 43.5 billion yuan, accounting for 36.2 percent of the city’s total trade volume in the two-month period.

The imports and exports of the city’s foreign-funded enterprises reached 64.9 billion yuan, up 13.6 percent year on year, while the foreign trade of state-owned enterprises reached 11.7 billion yuan, up 9 percent.

Tianjin saw rapid export growth in labor-intensive products and mechanical and electrical products.

The commission vowed to explore new business models for foreign trade by further embracing the digital economy, optimize the structure of import and export products, and expand imports of new trade products to add impetus to the city’s economic growth.

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