China Becomes World’s No. 1 Exporter, Passing Germany
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: January 10, 2010
BEIJING (AP) — China overtook Germany as the world’s top exporter after China’s December exports jumped 17.7 percent for their first increase in 14 months, data showed Sunday.
Exports for the last month of 2009 were $130.7 billion, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
That raised total 2009 exports to $1.2 trillion, ahead of the 816 billion euros ($1.17 trillion) for Germany forecast by its foreign trade organization, BGA.
China’s new status is largely symbolic, but it reflects the ability of its resilient, low-cost manufacturers to keep selling abroad despite a slump in global consumer demand as a result of the financial crisis.
December’s rebound was an “important turning point” for exporters, a customs agency economist, Huang Guohua, said on the government television network CCTV.
“We can say that China’s export enterprises have completely emerged from their all-time low in exports.”
Stronger foreign sales of Chinese goods could help to drive the country’s recovery after demand plunged in 2008, forcing thousands of factories to close and throwing millions of laborers out of work.
Helped by a 4 trillion renminbi ($586 billion) stimulus package, China’s economic expansion accelerated to 8.9 percent for the third quarter of 2009.
The government says full-year growth should be 8.3 percent.
Economists and Germany’s national chamber of commerce said earlier that the country was likely to lose its longtime crown as top exporter.
China is best known as a supplier of shoes, toys, furniture and other low-tech goods, while Germany exports machinery and other higher-value products.
China surpassed the United States as the biggest auto market in 2009 and is on track to replace Japan as the world’s second-largest economy soon.
China passed Germany as the third-largest economy in 2007.
Even though China overtook Germany as top exporter, the customs agency said total 2009 Chinese trade fell 13.9 percent from 2008.