Emerging markets

Published on February 12th, 2013 | by Lewis Parker

China knocks US from top of trade league

China is now the world’s largest trading nation according to newly released figures. The total amount of China’s imports and exports has overtaken the United States.

While US imports and exports were worth $3.82tn in 2012, China edged ahead with $3.87tn worth of trading. This is despite the fact that, according to the World Bank, China’s economy is only half the size. It is also running a trade surplus of $231.1bn compared with the US deficit of $700bn.


The picture changes a little – although not much – when services are figured into the equation. The US trillion-dollar services trade is running at a surplus of $195.3bn, according to Forbes.

“It is remarkable that an economy that is only a fraction of the size of the US economy has a larger trading volume,” Nicholas Lardy, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, told Bloomberg.

China is becoming the key trading ally for countries all over the world. For the last three years Brazil has done more business with China than the US – un-thought of a quarter of a century ago. And perhaps most worrying for the American hopes of hegemony, its bilateral trade deficit with China is increasing year on year, giving China even more economic leverage.

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