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Merchandise trade balance of China 2009-2019

In 2019, China's merchandise trade surplus amounted to around 421.9 billion U.S. dollars. The surplus value dropped significantly since 2015 when it reached a record high of nearly 594 billion U.S. dollars. In 2015, the U.S. bilateral goods trade deficit with China accounted for around two-thirds of China's total merchandise trade surplus.

Trade balance and partners

The merchandise trade balance is the value of exported goods minus the value of imported goods. A positive value indicates a trade surplus, while a negative value indicates a trade deficit. In 2019, Chinese imports of goods amounted to approximately 2.1 trillion U.S. dollars, whereas total exports added up to about 2.5 trillion U.S. dollars. In contrast, China’s invisible trade balance, an indicator measuring services and government transfers between countries, closed with a deficit and ranged at about -292 billion U.S. dollars at the end of 2018.

Being an economy heavily reliant on export, China ranked first among countries with the highest trade surplus in 2018, followed by Germany and Russia. The United States, with imports exceeding exports by approximately 950 billion U.S. dollars that year, ranked first among leading import countries worldwide. In 2019, the value of the U.S. imports from China exceeded the exports to China by around 345.6 billion U.S. dollars.

Another important trade partner for China is the European Union. In 2019, the EU imported 82 percent more from China than they exported there, showing a trade deficit of 163 billion euros. Product categories with the highest trade deficit a year earlier were mostly finished goods such as machinery and transport equipment, clothing, and other manufactures, whereas product categories with a more balanced trade sheet consisted of raw materials and agricultural products to a large extent.

Merchandise trade balance in China from 2009 to 2019

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Release date

May 2020



Survey time period

2009 to 2019

Supplementary notes

The figures have been rounded to provide a better understanding of the statistic.

The source does not provide an exact publication date. The date given represents the day of data access.

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Statistics on "Imports to China"

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