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China close to No. 3 trader
(Shenzhen Daily/Agencies)
Updated: 2004-11-05 15:25

China is expected to overtake Japan this year as the world's third-largest trading nation behind the United States and Germany, the latest statistics from the World Trade Organization (WTO) show.

According to the statistics, China already imports more goods than Japan and will probably surpass it in merchandise exports in 2004.

Last year, Japan recorded merchandise imports and exports of US$854.7 billion, just ahead of China's combined total of US$854 billion.

Adding service trade volume of US$180.9 billion, Japan's total grew to US$1035.6 billion, US$80.3 billion more than China's total when its service sector of US$101.3 billion is added.

This year, China's fast-growing economy means it is gaining rapidly on developed countries, raising the prospect that it may soon overtake Japan in trade volume.

Separately, Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi said Wednesday that trade volume between China and the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should surpass 100 billion dollars this year.

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