China overtakes US as world’s largest goods trader

Eurasia News

BEIJING: China’s foreign trade exceeded the $4 trillion mark for the first time last year as exports rose 7.9% to $ 2.21 trillion, allowing the Communist giant to ‘overtake’ the US as world’s largest goods trader.

China’s total exports and imports for the first time crossed $ four trillion mark and posted $ 4.16 trillion in 2013, up 7.6% year on year but fell short of the eight per cent increase forecast earlier.

Exports from China, already the world’s second-largest economy, rose 7.9% year on year to 2.21 trillion $ in 2013, while imports increased 7.3% to 1.95 trillion $, according to customs data released here.

The growth rate, however, is slightly lower than the government’s full-year target of 8%, forecast in the beginning of 2013.

The foreign trade surplus widened to $ 259.75 billion in 2013, an increase of 12.8% from a year earlier, Zheng Yuesheng, spokesman for the General Administration of Customs told reporters.

In December, China’s foreign trade value hit a new high of $389.8 billion an increase of 6.2 % from a year earlier.

December’s exports amounted to $ 207.7 billion, an increase of 4.3 %, significantly lower than the 12.7- % growth in November and also lower than the 5.6 % in October. Import growth rose to 8.3% year on year in December from 5.3 per cent in November.

While the US is yet to release it full-year figures, its trade for the first 11 months of 2013 totalled $3.5 trillion.

“It is very likely that China has overtaken the US to become the world’s largest trading country,” Zheng said.

Zheng said trade with the European Union (EU), China’s biggest trade partner, edged up 2.1 per cent year on year to $ 559.1 billion in 2013. China exported $ 339 billion worth of goods to the EU and $ 220.1 billion worth of goods from the EU block.

Trade with the US, China’s second-biggest trade partner, rose 7.5% year on year to$ 521 billion. China’s exports to the US amounted to $ 368.4 billion, while imports stood at $152.6 billion.

China’s trade with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, its third-largest trading partner, rose 10.9% year on year to $443.6 billion.

However, China’s trade with Japan contracted 5.1% year on year, to $ 312.55 billion as the two countries continued to spur over the disputed islands. PTI