China Passes U.S. to Become World’s Largest Trading Nation

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Feb. 12 – Official figures show that China has officially surpassed the United States as the world’s biggest trading nation in terms of the sum of imported and exported goods. U.S. exports and imports of goods totaled US$3.82 trillion in 2012, while China’s trade amounted to US$3.87 trillion.

Furthermore, with 124 countries now considering China their largest trading partner, the country has also surpassed the United States as the world’s premiere trade partner, stripping the United States of a title that it has held for over six decades.

In response, chairman of Goldman Sachs’ asset management division Jim O’Neill expressed that China’s growing influence in global commerce may disrupt regional trading blocs as it becomes the most important commercial partner for some countries.

“China is rapidly becoming the most important bilateral trade partner [for many countries in the world]. At this kind of pace, by the end of the decade, many European countries will be doing more individual trade with China than with bilateral partners in Europe,” O’Neill stated.

O’Neill also added that Germany may export twice as much to China as it does to France by the end of the decade.

A significant portion of China’s trade involves importing raw materials and parts which are reassembled into finished products to then be re-exported. Last month, China’s trade expanded from a year earlier more than previously estimated, with exports rising by 25 percent and imports by 28.8 percent.

The U.S. took in US$2.28 trillion in goods last year compared to China’s US$1.82 trillion of imports. The U.S., however, recorded a goods deficit of more than US$700 billion in 2012 while China experienced a trade surplus totaling US$231.1 billion.

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