UTC+8 ( BJT)

China Customs to resume trade data sharing in November

China’s General Administration of Customs announced quietly on its website to resume detailed trade data sharing starting November, according to a notice put up on its website on November 1 even though the actual sign-off date was October 19.

“To further facilitate the public search on Customs statistics and to better serve the country’s foreign trade, the Customs will share more detailed foreign trade statistics on top of the existing monthly preliminary, monthly and annual data, which include detailed and breakdown statistics of imports by country, exports by country, trade in different forms, as well as Chinese international trading companies by province, municipality, or autonomous regions,” the notice states.

This has put an end to China’s Customs’ abrupt halt of detailed foreign trade data sharing free of charge or via paid service since April without offering any explanation to the move.

A Customs official confirmed all the information in the notice, but declined commenting the similarity or difference from the detailed data sharing prior to the suspension.

Mysteel did an experiment on November 2 and was able to successfully extract Australian iron ore imports at different powder sizes and over April-September, the originally missing period, via the search function on the Customs’ website in Chinese.

The latest decision by China’s Customs, nevertheless, have been greatly welcome by many nonferrous and ferrous market sources especially many overseas companies and research institutions that used to heavily rely on Customs data to have a glimpse of China’s foreign trade status, thus, have been left in the dark in the past few months, Mysteel understands.

“I believe some of my friends that have built their Chinese market analysis on Customs data will burst into happy tears,” a Singapore-based ferrous market source said half joking, though no one knows for certain what the detailed data will look like.

Chinese sources in the nonferrous and ferrous markets, however, have responded to the news differently.

“We have been troubled with no official figures about how many products have been exported to which country, and the new development will be convenient for us to explore potential overseas markets for our steel sales,” a steel exporter in East China’s Jiangsu province shared his happiness with Mysteel on Friday.

A steel exporter in Wuxi, East China’s Jiangsu province, however, shared his concern.

“Traders may find it easier to pinpoint their competitors in China and try every means to grab customers from one another should the Customs start sharing too detailed information about buyers or sellers in China,” he said, though the Customs’ notice did not mention whether to share information to the degree of individual company names or just a breakdown by location.

A few others that Mysteel got in touch, on the other hand, showed indifference to the resumption of the Customs detailed data service.

“We have been conducting foreign trade via our business partners and agents, so we have no idea whether this is good or bad to us, as our business has been running as per normal all the past months,” an official a stated-owned mill in North China said.

Some Chinese steel mills, with their established and long-time overseas customers and supplies, are just satisfied with the general figures of imports and exports that the Customs have been releasing consistently all along, feeling no need for any more detailed data for reference in their foreign trade.

Written by Venus Wang, wangyi@mysteel.com & Sean Xie, xiepy@mysteel.com

Edited by Hongmei Li, li.hongmei@mysteel.com