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Xinjiang exports to US doubled in 2021 first quarter despite cotton ban and sanctions

"China trade: Xinjiang exports to US doubled in first quarter, even as cotton ban and sanctions kicked in", 22 April 2021

Despite American bans on key products and sanctions on major companies, Xinjiang’s direct exports to the United States more than doubled in the first quarter of 2021 - a trend that has baffled analysts.

Exports from the western Chinese region surged 113 per cent from a year earlier over the first three months to US$64.4 million, according to detailed data released by China’s customs agency.

While shipments are coming off a low base due to the coronavirus pandemic ravaging Chinese and international supply chains last year, the data showed that Xinjiang’s exports are also up 46.5 per cent compared with the first quarter of 2019. 

The year-on-year figures are part of a wider trend of surging Chinese exports, with the economy having recovered from early coronavirus-related shutdowns to provide the goods needed to fight the pandemic and support lockdowns around the world. 

Xinjiang’s exports are a minuscule fraction of the total Chinese exports to the US, which totalled US$119.2 billion in the first quarter, but come even as its dominant cotton industry was frozen out of US markets due to allegations of the widespread use of forced labour. [...]

Xinjiang’s top export to the US in the first quarter was a form of heterocyclic compounds – chemical ingredients widely used in cancer drugs, while the second was amino acids. [...]

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