WTO: China Overtakes U.S. in Exports
By BRADLEY S. KLAPPER
The Associated Press
Thursday, April 12, 2007; 7:47 AM
GENEVA -- China surpassed the United States as the world's second-largest exporter in the middle of last year, according to figures released Thursday by the World Trade Organization, and the Asian country is pulling further and further ahead.
Export growth from China boomed 27 percent last year, outpacing all other major trading nations, the WTO said in releasing its first batch of global trade statistics for 2006.
While China finished behind Germany and the United States in total exports for the full year, it overtook the United States in the last six months of 2006 and will almost certainly finish above the U.S. in the 2007 totals.
At current growth rates, China is projected to overtake Germany as the world's biggest exporter in 2008.
"China's merchandise trade expansion remained outstandingly strong," the WTO said in its 21-page report. "Office and telecom equipment continued to be the mainstay of Chinese export growth, but significant gains in world market shares in 2006 could be observed in 'traditional' exports such as clothing and 'new' products such as iron and steel."
The WTO report comes at a time of rising tension between China and the United States and some of the findings will surely fuel debate that Beijing's trade policies are preventing American goods from entering its vast market. U.S. critics accuse the Chinese economy of benefiting from an undervalued currency, illegal government subsidies, unfair barriers to foreign competition and widespread piracy.
The United States filed two new complaints against China at the WTO on Tuesday over copyright policy and restrictions on the sale of American movies, music and books _ the culmination of years of agitation in Washington over one of the world's biggest sources of illegally copied goods ranging from DVDs, CDs and designer clothes to sporting goods and medications.