【英语中国】分析:中国成全球最大货物贸易国 China overtakes US as world’s largest goods trader

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2014-1-14 09:29

小艾摘要: China became the biggest trader in goods for the first time last year, overtaking the US for all of 2013 and finishing the year with record trade figures in December.Coming fast on the heels of China ...
China overtakes US as world’s largest goods trader
China became the biggest trader in goods for the first time last year, overtaking the US for all of 2013 and finishing the year with record trade figures in December.

Coming fast on the heels of China taking over as the largest oil importer, the shift is another milestone as the country takes its place among the most powerful nations. Trade with the rest of Asia and increasing flows with the Middle East represent a shift in power away from the US, the largest economy.

The total value of China’s imports and exports in 2013 was $4.16tn, a 7.6 per cent increase from a year earlier on a renminbi-adjusted basis, according to figures released by the Chinese government on last friday.

The US will release its full-year figures in February but its total imports and exports of goods amounted to $3.57tn in the 11 months from January to November 2013, making it a virtual certainty that China is now the biggest goods trading nation.

Some historians argue China was the largest trading nation during the Qing dynasty, which lasted from 1644-1912, despite the ambivalence of Chinese emperors towards foreign trade.

“This is a landmark milestone for our nation’s foreign trade development,” said Zheng Yuesheng, chief statistician of the customs administration.

Mr Zheng said he expected a stronger showing in 2014, thanks to an improving world economy, structural reforms in China and a lowered outlook for commodity prices, which would help offset rising costs of labour and financing for manufacturers.

But there were a few clouds on the horizon, namely a decline in foreign investment in manufacturing, and markedly slower growth in components brought to China to be assembled and re-exported. “We all know that one characteristic of the processing trade is to first import then export, so lower growth in processing imports shows that in the near future, the outlook for processing exports is not too optimistic,” Mr Zheng added.

About a third of China’s trade involves assembly and re-export of components produced elsewhere, although that is rapidly dwindling as industries move their entire supply chain to China.

China’s official figures show the processing trade made up 32.6 per cent of total imports and exports in 2013, a drop from 34.8 per cent the year before.

According to the World Trade Organisation, the total value of China’s goods trade in 2012 trailed the US figure by a mere $15bn.

China’s rise to dominance of world trade has happened over a very short period, with the value of Chinese trade roughly doubling every four years over the past three decades.

The country became the biggest goods exporter in 2009 and Chinese imports and exports account for more than 10 per cent of global goods trade, up from 3 per cent in 2000.

There has also been an enormous shift in the kinds of things China exports – from textiles, apparel and oil products to high-tech machinery and electronics.

In December, Chinese trade reached a record monthly high of $390bn, with exports increasing 4.3 per cent from a year earlier to $208bn and imports up 8.3 per cent from the same month in 2013 to $182bn.

For the full year, exports totalled $2.21tn, an increase of 7.9 per cent on a renminbi-adjusted basis. That narrowly missed a target of 8 per cent full-year export growth set at the start of 2013 by the Chinese government. Imports rose 7.3 per cent from a year earlier to reach $1.95tn in 2013. The country’s trade surplus widened 12.8 per cent to $260bn as exports to its largest traditional markets in the US and Europe recovered.

Total US exports were up 5.2 per cent in the first 11 months of last year, led by rising sales to China, which expanded 8.7 per cent from the same period a year earlier. The US still has a big lead over China when it comes to trade in services.

China’s trade in services in 2012 was about $471bn, less than half of the US figure of $1.07tn.




















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