(Yicai Global) Feb. 12 -- China expects to maintain steady goods trade growth this year after a larger-than-expected expansion in 2018, according to an official at the country's commerce ministry.
Trade development in the world's second-largest economy is backed by a number of favorable factors despite external pressure, Chu Shijia, director of comprehensive affairs at the Ministry of Commerce, said in a press briefing today.
The global economy is set to continue its slow recovery, and as China further opens up it will accelerate industrial upgrades and corporate vitality to support trade growth, he added. Though relevant figures for January 2019 have not yet been published, Chu believes the trade exports and imports increased and will continue to do so over the course of the year.
China's goods trade tallied USD4.6 trillion last year, up 12.6 percent with exports and imports hitting record highs of USD2.5 trillion and USD2.1 trillion. Growth overall was faster than average expansion in the United States, Germany, Japan and other major economies, Chu said.
China narrowed its trade surplus by 16.2 percent last year, with bulk commodity imports of crude oil, natural gas, copper concentrate, coal, pulp and logs all rising. Natural gas was the biggest gainer, up 31.9 percent, with crude and copper imports also making double-digit growth.
Trade in China plays an important role in global economic development, he said, adding that over the first three quarters of last year the country contributed 16.8 percent to worldwide import growth. The country held the first ever China International Import Expo in November, which offered new opportunities for products from around the world to enter the country, Chu continued.
Editor: James Boynton