Despite recent media reports that China had surpassed the US when it comes to trade, the recent reports from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced that this is not, in fact, the case.
The two largest economies in the world, China and the United States have always been neck and neck when it comes down to who is the biggest trading nation by volume. According to the General Administration of Customs, Chinese trade in goods and services reached $3.87 trillion in 2012. The US Commerce Department reported that the total of US exports and imports in the same year was $3.82 trillion.
China’s Ministry of Commerce stated, however, that China’s combined export and import volume from last year is below that of the US when the same method of measurement is used. An unidentified ministry official said that the Commerce Department announced two sets of figures for US trade during 2012: $3.82 trillion based on the country’s international balance of payments, and $3.882 trillion based on a measurement similar to the method used by the World Trade Organization.
The smaller number was the only one used to compare China’s volume. The official also said that the WTO’s annual trade report, to be divulged within the next month, “will show a continued 1-2 ranking of the US and China.”