China's trade surplus increased more than 47 percent
year-on-year in 2007 but experts expect growth to slow down this
The surplus hit $262.2 billion last year, up 47.7 percent from
the previous year, according to statistics released on Friday by
the General Administration of Customs.
"Year-on-year growth in monthly imports has exceeded 25 percent
for three months in a row, which contributed to the slowdown in
surplus growth," the customs said. "And the country's soaring trade
surplus eased a bit in the fourth quarter last year, with imports
catching up and exports slowing down."
The government has taken various measures to curb the growing
surplus, such as scrapping tax rebates on high-polluting exports
and imposing export tariffs. As such measures continue to have an
effect this year, experts believe the gap between exports and
imports will narrow gradually.
"As a result of policy adjustment, exports in such sectors as
steel and textiles are expected to drop markedly," said Zhang
Yansheng, director of the International Economic Research Institute
affiliated to the National Development and Reform Commission.
He predicted China's net exports of crude steel would decline to
36 million tons this year from 53.1 million tons in 2007.
And pursuing a "soft landing" in terms of trade will be a
priority of the government's work this year, Zhang said.
However, Citigroup economist Huang Yiping argued China's exports
should continue to grow strongly so long as the United States
avoids a recession.
"We are not expecting the surplus to decline substantially,"
Huang said. "We are still expecting the overall trade surplus to
rise a bit further" this year.
Exports reached $1.22 trillion last year, up 25.7 percent from a
year earlier, while imports hit $955.8 billion, up 20.8
According to the customs, since China joined the World Trade
Organization in 2001, its foreign trade volume maintained over
20-percent growth for six successive years.
The EU topped China's trade partners in 2007, followed by the
United States and Japan.
(China Daily January 12, 2008)