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Imports to China - statistics & facts

International trade in China has taken off since joining the World Trade Organization in 2001. Twelve years after that, China surpassed the United States to become the world’s leading trading nation. China’s total imports and exports have grown nearly eightfold since 2001 and reached 32.2 trillion yuan in 2020. The goods import trade value that year exceeded two trillion U.S. dollars, making China the second-largest importing nation worldwide.

Mechanical and electronic products made up nearly half of the country’s goods imports. In 2020, China’s major import products included integrated circuits, crude oil, and iron ore. China’s agricultural sector has been increasingly relying on imports in the last few years as well. China is the world’s largest importer of soybeans and meat, and is among the leading importers of dairy, wine, and other food products and beverages. In terms of service trade, travel and transportation-related service imports took up the largest share of all service imports in China.

As of 2020, China’s major import partners were the ASEAN countries, the European Union, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. Meanwhile, imports from the United States has bounced back to around 124 billion U.S. dollars despite the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to the easing of the U.S.-China trade war.

Despite an upward trend in China’s imports, the country’s exports surpass its imports by a wide margin, creating the largest merchandise trade surplus in the world. In 2020, China had a positive trade balance exceeding 535 billion U.S. dollars. However, in contrast to merchandise trade, trade in services show a deepening deficit as service imports to China outperform exports by nearly 300 billion U.S. dollars annually. Amid the global economic turmoil of 2020, the debate on whether China’s major economic partners can expect an increased trade symmetry in the nearest future remains an open question.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 25 most important statistics relating to "Imports to China".

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