China rejects status as world’s biggest trader
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China's government has taken the unusual step of publicly denying that it passed the United States last year as the world's biggest trader — a politically sensitive status.
Trade data from both governments indicate China passed the US last year in total imports and exports by a margin of $3.866 trillion to $3.822 trillion, or about $44 billion.
China's Commerce Ministry issued a statement on Tuesday denying that. It said China still lagged by $15.6 billion last year under World Trade Organization standards for valuing goods. That is equal to just 0.3 per cent of China's total trade.
Beijing wants to be seen as a global leader but says it is a developing country. Its communist leaders are wary of any status that might lead to demands for more efforts to stimulate the global economy or concessions in talks on trade, climate change or other contentious issues. "I think there is some concern from the Ministry of Commerce that this might be used as evidence by Western countries that China is not doing its part to rebalance the global economy,'' said Xianfang Ren, China analyst for IHS Global Insight.