China may become Japan's largest trade partner

By Dai Yan (
Updated: 2007-04-11 13:50

Trade volume between China and Japan hit a record US$211.3 billion in 2006, accounting for 17.2 percent of Japan's overall foreign trade, and China is expected to surpass the United States to become Japan's largest trade partner in 2007, said a senior official from the Beijing office of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).

China's imports from Japan increased 15.6 percent in 2006, compared with 8.8 percent in 2005. Japan expanded the exports of electronic components, vehicles and automotive parts in 2006 for China to provide more products for the world market to meet rising demand. Non-ferrous metals and plastics from Japan were also popular in China.

Made-in-Japan digital products suck as high-grade digital cameras and family-use digital videos were in great demand in China, and their exports saw a year-on-year increase of 102.9 percent in 2006. Japanese sedan exports to China rose 15.9 percent.

China's exports to Japan saw an 8.5 percent growth in 2006, much lower than 15.8 percent in 2005, mainly because Japan demanded less video products and office machines and tightened control on agricultural product imports, said the official. Japan's demand for televisions and audio-visual systems dropped 5.8 percent and that for office machines only rose two percent in 2006.

Japan issued a strict list system for agricultural chemical residues in foods in 2006, which involves more than 50,000 temporary standards of maximum residue limits and 700 agricultural chemicals. China has only 3,000 maximum residue limits covering over 200 agricultural chemicals. Chinese food exports to Japan increased 1.8 percent in 2006, of which fresh vegetable exports declined sharply. Mushroom and pea exports decreased 27 and 34 percent.

Some Chinese products that had been shipped to Japan were on the list that should be supplied to the domestic market first. As a result, coal and steel exports decreased 18.8 and 6.7 percent respectively.


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