April 2021 Trade Bulletin

Highlights of This Month’s Edition

  • U.S.-China Trade: In February 2021, the U.S. trade deficit in goods with China expanded 53.9 percent year-on-year to $24.6 billion, marking the largest year-on-year increase since February 2005; U.S. imports of Chinese goods grew 49.2 percent year-on-year to $34 billion; China’s manufacturing sector continues to lead its domestic economic recovery.

In Focus: Two Sessions and 14th Five-Year Plan

  • Economic Vision for 2021–2025 and Beyond: China’s policymakers shelve mandatory growth targets for the 14th Five-Year Plan period and emphasize economic security in the state’s approach to development. The plan is far-reaching in scope, but prospects for implementation remain unclear.
  • Technology and Innovation: While the 14th Five-Year Plan targets sectors similar to those identified in previous national plans, it emphasizes achieving technological breakthroughs and proposes systemic changes to management, funding, and improvement of the research environment.
  • Environment and Climate: Unambitious climate benchmarks and ongoing support for fossil fuel projects in the 14th Five-Year Plan cast doubt on China’s ability to meet its commitment to reach carbon neutrality by 2060, even as the plan also targets leadership in the next generation of clean and renewable technology.
  • Demographics and Urbanization: China’s leaders seek to address a looming demographic crisis and shore up labor productivity and household consumption through changes to China’s hukou system, family support, retirement policy, and land administration. Urban planning goals focus on building economies of scale in social services provision and using cities to drive technological advancement.