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China may surpass Germany as world's biggest exporter

By Ding Qingfen and Xin Zhiming (chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2009-12-27 14:57
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Despite the sluggish demand from overseas, China will probably surpass Germany as the world's largest exporter in 2009, said the Ministry of Commerce.  

The MOFCOM also predicted the exports in 2009 will drop by 16.5 percent from a year earlier, which means that the nation is expected to export goods worth $1.19 trillion in 2009 and that December is expected to witness the first year-on-year growth of as high as 10 percent since last November.

"The year 2009 was the hardest in the Chinese trade history, but the nation has made positive achievements," said Zhong Shan, vice-minister of commerce, during the China Economic Forum held in Beijing.

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"It's very likely that China will take over Germany this year as the world's biggest exporter and that the share of China's exports in world exports will rise to nine percent this year from 8.86 percent last year," he predicted.

Buoyed up by the turnaround of the world economies, declines in exports have begun to ease off since the second half of this year, but China's exports fell by 18.8 percent during the first 11 months to $1.07 trillion, according to the Customs.

Although the figure for December is yet to be disclosed, Zhong predicted China’s exports for the whole year in 2009 will drop by "16.5 percent year-on-year" to $1.19 trillion, and imports "down 15 percent" to $963 billion.

That means that China's exports for December are expected to grow by 9.6 percent year-on-year to $121.86 billion, which will be the first year-on-year growth for Chinese exports since last November.

According to the World Trade Organization, during the first half of 2009, China had, for the first time in the past seven years, edged narrowly ahead of Germany in exports. China and Germany exported goods worth $521.7 and $521.6 billion respectively during the January to June period.

Economists predicted such momentum will be sustained during the second half of 2009 and the years ahead.

The Federation of German Industries said on Saturday Germany's exports in 2009 are expected to drop by 18 percent from a year earlier to 992.7 billion euros.

During the MOFCOM 2009 Working Conference held on December 24, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said the year ahead is not positive for Chinese exports, and the nation's exports won't gain the strong growth witnessed in the years before 2008 until 2011.

But Chen said he is much satisfied about China's trade performance this year, during which, the share of China's exports in world total has grown.