Export trade in China – additional information
China overtook the United States as the world’s largest trading nation in 2013, when China’s export value of goods hit a record high of roughly two trillion U.S. dollars. According to the IMF, China’s total gross domestic product (GDP) had ranged at over nine trillion U.S. dollars that year. Thus, exports of goods had accounted for more than 24 percent of China’s total economic output in 2013. Meanwhile, China’s trade surplus surged to 259 billion U.S. dollars.
Since the implementation of various reform strategies in 1979, China’s economic development has largely profited from its export-led growth strategy. In 2017, the most important export partners for China were the United States and the European Union. The U.S. alone accounted for around 19 percent of the Chinese export value. Electronic equipment, machinery and textiles are among China’s top export goods. It is noticeable that China’s comparative advantage nowadays lies not only in labor-intensive manufactured goods. Over the past years, China has steadily moved up the global value chain by increasing the export share of high technology products such as computers and power devices.
China has been frequently accused of currency manipulation by other countries. It is criticized that China deliberately keeps its currency yuan undervalued, in order to give Chinese goods export advantages. The Big Mac Index, an informal indicator to measure the purchasing power parity between different currencies, showed that the Chinese currency yuan was undervalued by 44 percent as of July 2018.