China's foreign trade rose 9.7 percent year on year to a historic high of 30.51 trillion yuan (about 4.5 trillion US dollars) in 2018, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said Monday. However, its trade surplus over America - the gap between exports and imports - expanded a year ago to the widest point on record.
Exports rose 7.1 per cent, customs data showed Monday, down from the 7.9 per cent reported earlier for 2017. Imports of American goods rose just 0.7 percent over 2017.
"Our country's export and import have reached record highs, and there is reason to hope that we will continue to remain the world's largest trading nation". China's surplus is the U.S.'s trade deficit.
However, customs' data for December also showed that exports to the U.S. dropped 3.5 percent compared with December of the previous year, possibly due to U.S. tariffs on an array of Chinese goods.
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Chinese exports and imports fell last month, indicating USA tariffs are beginning to impact the world's number two economy. Russian Federation is now ranked as China's tenth biggest trade partner.
In December alone, China's trade surplus with the US was $29.87 billion.
Chinese exporters also face pressure from cooling consumer demand in other global markets.
Official data also showed the manufacturing sector contracted in December for the first time in more than two years.