|Despite slowing economic growth, China annual trade surpasses US$4 trillion
China's annual trade in goods passed the US$4 trillion mark for the first time in 2013, official data show, confirming its position as a trading power.
Exports increased by 7.9 percent to US$2.21 trillion, while imports gained by 7.3 percent to US$1.95 trillion, the General Administration of Customs announced.
The trade surplus stood at US$259.75 billion, up 12.8 percent from 2012.
Total trade came to US$4.16 trillion, an increase of 7.6 percent, which was just below the government's target of 8 percent.
Reports last February said the United States total trade was lower than China's in 2012, but Customs spokesman Zheng Yuesheng said the change had happened for the first time in 2013 – although full US data for the year has yet to be released.
“It is very likely that China has overtaken the US to become the world's largest trading country,'' he said.
The European Union was China's biggest trading partner, Customs said, followed by the United States, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), Hong Kong and Japan.
Between them the traditional markets of the EU, US and Japan accounted for 33.5 percent of China's trade, down 1.7 percentage points, indicating that emerging markets share was growing.
The 2013 trade performance came as the economy turned in a mixed performance, slowing during the first half of the year before showing some vigour in the final six months.
A government report last month cited in state media suggested gross domestic product (GDP) grew 7.6 percent in 2013, slightly above Beijing's official target and just below the 7.7 percent in 2012, which was the worst performance in 13 years.