China’s trade surplus hits record in December to end year in which it exported 40 masks per person around world
- December figures show China’s exports and imports both stronger than expected amid a global winter wave of coronavirus outbreaks, and trade surplus with United States rose again in 2020
- From March to the end of last year, China exported US$67.82 billion worth of materials related to pandemic prevention and control
China ended 2020 with exceptionally strong exports and a historically large foreign trade surplus, despite being the first country hit by the coronavirus crisis, and in the face of international criticism of its mercantilist trade practices.
Amid prolonged debates over deglobalisation and decoupling during the pandemic, the latest official figures showed that China’s trade surplus with the United States rose again last year – to the second-largest gap on record – in a fresh sign that the trade war kicked off by US President Donald Trump was unsuccessful in reducing the trade imbalance between the countries.
Both exports and imports were again stronger than expected in December, as the winter wave of virus outbreaks and lockdowns elsewhere in the world continued to boost demand for Chinese medical and work-from-home products, a trend that analysts argue could last for many more months, but is unlikely to be permanent.