According to the data released by the Chinese customs department, the total export volume of aluminum products will reach 9.39 million tons in 2022, a year-on-year increase of 15.6%; the export value will reach 39.44 billion US dollars, a year-on-year increase of 40.2%, which is a record high. It is worth mentioning that this set of data was achieved against the background of increasing downward pressure on the global economy, the global pandemic of the epidemic, and unprecedented uncertainty in the supply chain. This shows that the global economy’s demand for Chinese aluminum products has seen a significant restorative growth. At the same time, the growth of aluminum product exports has also brought new benefits to Chinese aluminum industry chain, which has already had excess capacity and increasing operating pressure.
2022 is the 21th year after China joined the WTO, and it boosts rapid development of international trade in the aluminum industries in China. This article will introduce the development process of Chinese foreign trade of aluminum products in more detail in the past 20 years, so as to provide more help for forcasting the challenges and opportunities that the industry will face in the future for foreign trade.
2022 China aluminum export overview
According to statistics from China customs, in 2021, the total export volume of China aluminum and its products (Chapter 76 of the Customs Tariff) will reach 8.43 million tons, a year-on-year increase of 15.3%; the total export volume will reach 34.71 billion US dollars, a year-on-year increase of 41.1%. Both the export volume and value of aluminum and its products hit record highs. In addition, China’s aluminum wheel exports in 2021 will be 961,000 tons, second only to 2018, the second peak in history, with a year-on-year increase of 18.4%; the export value will reach 4.73 billion US dollars, a year-on-year increase of 34%.
The export volume of the above two categories of products, aluminum and its products and aluminum wheels, can be combined and added together, which can be comprehensively classified as the export volume of aluminum products. That is, in 2021, China’s total export of aluminum products will be 9.391 million tons, a year-on-year increase of 15.6%; the total export value will be 39.44 billion US dollars, a year-on-year increase of 40.2%.
Import volume and total import volume
According to China Customs statistics, in 2021, China’s imports of aluminum and its products (Chapter 76 of Customs Tariff) will total 4.283 million tons, a year-on-year increase of 15.3%; the total import volume will reach US$12.5 billion, a year-on-year increase of 53.6%. Among them, the import volume of aluminum and aluminum alloy reached 2.734 million tons, and the import volume of waste aluminum reached 1.033 million tons, both of which had a relatively large increase. In addition, in 2021, China’s aluminum wheel imports will reach 17,000 tons, a year-on-year increase of 21.4%; the import value will reach 130 million US dollars, a year-on-year increase of 38.6%.
The import value of the above two categories of products, namely aluminum and its products and aluminum wheels, can be combined and added together, which can be comprehensively classified as the import volume of aluminum products. That is, in 2021, China’s total import of aluminum products will reach 4.3 million tons, a year-on-year increase of 20%; the total import volume will reach 12.63 billion US dollars, a year-on-year increase of 49%.
It should be emphasized that in addition to aluminum processed products, China is also a major importer of bauxite, and its dependence on imports continues to increase. In 2021, China will import about 107 million tons of bauxite, with an import value of US$5.116 billion; import 3.38 million tons of alumina, with an import value of US$1.43 billion.
Import and export trade surplus of aluminum products
On a comprehensive basis, in 2021, China’s trade surplus in aluminum products will be US$26.82 billion (excluding bauxite and alumina), an increase of 34.8%. The previous highest surplus was US$25.16 billion (2018). In 2021, China’s total foreign trade surplus will be 676.34 billion US dollars, of which the trade surplus of aluminum products will account for 3.72%. If bauxite and alumina are considered, the trade deficit is 6.2 billion US dollars, and the trade surplus of China’s aluminum industry chain is 20.6 billion US dollars, accounting for 3.1% of the country’s total foreign trade surplus.
Review of import and export data of aluminum products in China
2021 is the 20th year of China’s accession to the WTO. At the same time, it is also an important juncture for China to face new challenges in international economic and trade relations. Reviewing the development process after China’s accession to the WTO will have an important reference for the future development of China’s aluminum product import and export trade. significance.
Review of China’s aluminum product export data from 2001 to 2021
In the past 20 years since China joined the WTO, the statistical export volume of China’s aluminum products (including wheels) has increased from less than 800,000 tons in 2001 to 9.391 million tons in 2021, an increase of 10.7 times; aluminum and its aluminum products The annual export value will increase from US$1.47 billion in 2001 to US$39.44 billion in 2021, an increase of 25.8 times.
In 2001, China’s export volume of aluminum and its products ranked ninth in the world; in 2005 it jumped to fourth in the world, in 2010 it jumped to first in the world, and it has been ranked first in the world since then. The proportion of China’s aluminum and aluminum products exports to the total global export trade has also increased year by year. In 2001, it accounted for only 2.3%, in 2010 it reached 10%, in 2020 it reached 14.9%, and it is estimated that it will exceed 17% in 2021.
From 2001 to 2021, China’s cumulative export of aluminum products exceeded 110 million tons, and the cumulative export value exceeded 370 billion US dollars. Among them, 25.58 million tons of aluminum sheets and strips, 13.32 million tons of aluminum foil, 14.04 million tons of aluminum profiles, 14.9 million tons of aluminum and aluminum alloy ingots, 11.54 million tons of aluminum doors, windows, curtain walls and structures, 6.84 million tons of aluminum household appliances, and other aluminum Products are 8.11 million tons.
Review of Aluminum Products Import in China from 2001 to 2021
In 2001, China’s import volume of aluminum and its products was 1.325 million tons. In 2021, China’s import volume of aluminum and its products was 4.283 million tons, an increase of 2.2 times. From 2001 to 2021, a total of 63.31 million tons of aluminum and its products were imported. Among them, the cumulative import of scrap aluminum was 36.93 million tons, and the cumulative import of aluminum and aluminum alloy ingots was 14.82 million tons, which together accounted for 58% of aluminum imports. Importing aluminum metal and scrap aluminum makes up for the shortage of some domestic aluminum resources, improves resource utilization, reduces energy consumption and impact on the ecological environment, which is a correct choice.
In 2001, China’s import volume of aluminum and its products was US$2.24 billion, ranking seventh in the world; in 2005, it ranked fourth in the world, and in 2009, it ranked third in the world. After that, the import volume has been alternating between 3 and 4 . In 2020, China’s import of aluminum and its products will reach 8.14 billion US dollars, and in 2021 it will be 12.5 billion US dollars, ranking third in the world. The proportion of China’s imports of aluminum and its products to the total global import trade has also increased. It was 3.5% in 2001, 6.1% in 2010, 4.9% in 2020, and may exceed 8% in 2021.
From 2001 to 2021, China imported a total of 880 million tons of bauxite, with an import value of US$43.61 billion; a total of 88.72 million tons of alumina, with an import value of US$30.13 billion.
Several views on the above import and export data
First, it is necessary to pay attention to the analysis of foreign trade data of the whole aluminum industry chain.
Through the analysis of the import and export trade data of aluminum products, it is not difficult to find that due to the characteristics of the relatively long aluminum industry chain, various forms of aluminum products, and wide applications, it is necessary to pay special attention to the characteristics of the entire aluminum industry chain when analyzing the industry and market. The information and trends conveyed by various import and export data need to consider the information of the flow balance of all aluminum materials to accurately judge the mutual influence of China’s aluminum product import and export trade on the global aluminum industry chain, and predict changes in the global trade pattern, regional and national policy changes, as well as potential risks that some emergencies may bring to the operation of the industrial chain, so that relevant departments and enterprises can give early warning of trade disputes and do a good job in avoiding and coordinating.
For example, considering only the export of aluminum materials, the export volume in 2021 is only 5.41 million tons. If the export volume of aluminum and its alloys, aluminum products, and aluminum wheels is considered, this figure will increase to 9.39 million tons. In fact, this is still only a part of the international trade flow of aluminum metal. The above statistics do not include most of the aluminum casting products, aluminum products, 3C, vehicles and other end products and aluminum parts on mechanical equipment. Roughly estimated, there are at least 2 million tons of aluminum exports that have not been counted. Of course, this needs to be counted with more scientific statistical methods. In short, when analyzing relevant trade data, it is very necessary to consider the entire aluminum industry chain as much as possible.
Second, export business is an important engine driving the development of China’s aluminum industry.
Based on the analysis of foreign trade data of the entire aluminum industry chain, it is not difficult to find that export has always been an important engine and direction indicator for the development of China’s aluminum industry. The proportion of the total export of aluminum products in the total output of aluminum products cannot be underestimated, and the importance of export business to the healthy development of the industrial chain cannot be ignored. Taking 2021 as an example, China’s aluminum export volume is 5.41 million tons, accounting for 13.5% of China’s total aluminum output of 40.15 million tons. However, if the export volume of aluminum products (mostly aluminum processed products) is considered , the total export volume is 8.272 million tons, accounting for 20.6% of the total aluminum output. In 2021, China’s consumption of metal aluminum will be roughly 48.5 million tons (primary aluminum consumption + secondary aluminum consumption), of which about 9.39 million tons will be used to produce the above-mentioned export aluminum products, accounting for 19.4%. If considering the export of aluminum in the final products, about 25%~28% of the consumption of metal aluminum is used to process and manufacture export products. According to this estimate, nearly 1/3 of the added value in the aluminum industry chain is brought by exports. It can be said that the export-oriented characteristics of aluminum processing materials and aluminum downstream industry chains are very obvious, and it is hoped that relevant departments, organizations and market participants will pay special attention to this.
Third, the import of aluminum resources is an important guarantee for the safety and development of the aluminum industry chain.
China’s aluminum industry has developed to a new stage, and the bottleneck of aluminum resources has become increasingly prominent. From 2001 to 2021, China imported a total of 880 million tons of bauxite, 88.72 million tons of alumina, 36.93 million tons of scrap aluminum, and 14.82 million tons of aluminum and aluminum alloy ingots. It can be seen from the data that China’s aluminum resources are still highly dependent on foreign countries. It is gratifying that in recent years, Chinese enterprises have achieved multi-point deployment in the field of overseas mineral resource development, and overseas investment projects in various forms of aluminum resources such as electrolytic aluminum and recycled aluminum have also made great progress. However, under the influence of the increasingly complex international political and economic situation, the reliability, security, stability, and economy of resource supply still need special attention, because any change in the global situation may affect the fluctuation of the raw material supply chain, So that it affects the stability and development of China’s aluminum industry chain.
Fourth, the stability of the aluminum supply chain and industrial chain should be the consensus and direction of efforts of all parties in the country.
At present, under the background of China’s economic transition to green and low-carbon and high-quality development, and the impact of factors such as the global new crown epidemic pandemic, intensified climate change, insufficient momentum for world economic recovery, and high fluctuations in commodity prices, China’s economic development It is also facing pressures such as demand contraction, supply shocks, and weakening expectations. Nevertheless, we still need to focus on stabilizing and developing the real economy in order to stabilize the macroeconomic market and keep the economy operating within a reasonable range. In this context, similarly, China’s aluminum industry chain and the import and export of aluminum products are also facing many uncertainties, but the integration of resources, markets, and industrial internationalization is still the way for China’s aluminum industry to firmly expand its foreign trade business. China’s aluminum industry chain needs the integration of two resources and two markets. External circulation and internal circulation are equally important. Therefore, we need to deploy according to the requirements of the country and strive to stabilize foreign trade in the “six stability”. It is hoped that aluminum products will Exports can continue to be an important driving force for stabilizing employment, finance, foreign investment, investment, and expectations.
Fifth, adapt to the new trend of the new era and actively integrate into the sustainable supply chain of the whole industry chain.
At present, green, low-carbon sustainable development and peaceful and cooperative development have become the consensus of the global economic market. For example, in the carbon tariff mechanism to be implemented by the European Union, most automobile and consumer electronics brands have proposed a “dual-carbon” strategy; more and more downstream users of aluminum have proposed low-carbon aluminum procurement requirements, and even gradually introduced measures to de-aluminumize ; certification requirements for responsible production and responsible supply chains are also becoming more common. Under the above background, the elements and conditions of competition and cooperation in the aluminum industry chain will be adjusted, and the supply chain industry chain will face a new round of restructuring. In the face of these international and domestic sustainable development trends and requirements, we need to further expand opening up, strengthen international cooperation, and strengthen understanding, coordination, and integration. For example, the aluminum industry is facing great challenges in dealing with global climate change issues. According to research data from the International Aluminum Association and the International Energy Agency, the carbon emissions of the global aluminum industry will be about 1.1 billion tons in 2020. Among them, China’s aluminum industry emissions accounted for more than 50%. Regardless of whether it is predicted according to the warming scenario of 2 degrees Celsius or 1.5 degrees Celsius, the global aluminum industry is facing a huge task of reducing emissions. A comprehensive analysis of the trade flow of aluminum products in China and the world will help clarify an important fact, that is, China’s aluminum industry and related downstream manufacturing industries provide important support for the global aluminum market and are an important pole of the global industrial chain. Carbon emissions occur during this process. While China’s industrial chain is actively promoting structural adjustment and dual-carbon strategy, the global industrial chain and all relevant parties should also take cooperative carbon reduction actions and provide necessary support for China’s related carbon reduction undertakings, including capital, technology, equipment, and policy mechanisms We should promote the establishment of relevant alliances and cooperation mechanisms to share successful experiences and advanced technologies.
From a national perspective, during the “14th Five-Year Plan” period, China’s ecological civilization construction has entered a strategic direction focusing on carbon reduction, promoting synergies in pollution reduction and carbon reduction, promoting comprehensive green transformation of economic and social development, and realizing the improvement of ecological environment quality from quantitative changes to the critical period of qualitative change. From the perspective of the industry, the “14th Five-Year Plan for the Development of Raw Materials Industry” proposes to optimize the product trade structure, encourage the increase of imports of primary processing products, and strictly control the export of high-energy-consuming and low-value-added products. It is necessary to make up for the shortcomings of the industrial chain, realize low-carbon recycling, and promote high-end industrial supply, rational structure, green development, digital transformation, and system security. Other relevant policy orientations are also clear to gradually reduce the export of “double high” products. This has sent a clear signal to the next step of the import and export trend and structural adjustment of aluminum products – the path of large-scale export of primary products is getting narrower and narrower, and efforts should be made to develop and export products with higher added value and more sustainable elements. Aluminum series products.
In response to the sustainable supply of aluminum materials and responsible procurement requirements from downstream customers and brand owners, stakeholders in the global aluminum industry chain have begun to cooperate to launch a sustainable standard for the value chain – the Aluminum Industry Stewardship Initiative (ASI), focusing on issues related to aluminum Relevant ESG performance (environmental, social, corporate governance), and through chain of custody standards, to build a responsible and sustainable aluminum supply chain with a market-oriented mechanism. More than 220 value chain stakeholders around the world have recognized and implemented this standard, including more than 30 domestic industry chain backbone enterprises. It is expected that more domestic aluminum industry chain enterprises will seize the opportunity of possible further restructuring of the supply chain, formulate strategies and tactics at the right time, actively participate in the certification of this standard, enter the high-end supply chain system, and demonstrate the green and sustainable development of China’s industrial chain. responsibility, and at the same time tell the story of China’s aluminum industry chain and its special contribution to the decarbonization of the world economy.
In short, looking back on the past 20 years, China’s aluminum industry has achieved considerable development, and has formed a huge industrial scale and production capacity, which not only meets the needs of domestic urbanization and industrialization for basic raw materials, but also promotes the development of China’s manufacturing industry and related industrial chains. The improvement of competitiveness has made important contributions to the development of regional economy and national economy. The formation of the above situation benefits from the background of China’s integration into the global economy and the integration of domestic and foreign markets and resources, as well as the country’s policy support for the export of aluminum series products and manufacturing products. In particular, since 2001, after China’s accession to the WTO, a more free and convenient international trade environment and a large global market have brought unprecedented development opportunities to China’s aluminum industry. Since then, the internationalization of China’s aluminum industry and the internationalization of China’s aluminum industry have driven the industrial chain to advance all the way and continue to reach new levels. The improvement of the manufacturing capacity and enterprise strength of the aluminum industry chain has also benefited from the training of participating in international market competition and the integration with global industries. Whether it is the annual export of aluminum products of more than US$30 billion and the trade surplus of aluminum products of more than US$20 billion, or the cumulative export of more than 110 million tons of aluminum products and the cumulative foreign exchange earnings of more than US$370 billion in the past 20 years, it is not only Simple statistical data, but a vivid industrial picture and industrial history. Of course, China’s export
These aluminum products and imported products have also boosted the development of global manufacturing and technological progress in various countries, and have also benefited consumers in various countries.
President Xi Jinping once said in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Fourth China International Import Expo: “Since China’s accession to the World Trade Organization, China has continuously expanded and opened up, which has activated the surging spring tide of China’s development and also activated a pool of the world economy. Chunshui. These 20 years are the 20 years of China’s deepening reform and comprehensive opening up, the 20 years of China seizing opportunities and meeting challenges, and the 20 years of China taking the initiative to take responsibility and benefit the world.”
These words also apply to the aluminum industry chain, which is a true portrayal of the development of China’s aluminum industry in the past 20 years.