Here’s an important sign of changing economic times:
China surpassed the U.S. to become the world’s biggest trading nation last year as measured by the sum of exports and imports, ending the U.S. supremacy in global commerce that emerged after the end of World War II in 1945.
U.S. exports and imports last year totaled $3.82 trillion, the U.S. Commerce Department said yesterday. China’s customs administration reported last month that the country’s total trade in 2012 amounted to $3.87 trillion. China had a $231.1 billion annual trade surplus while the U.S. had a trade deficit of $727.9 billion.
China’s emergence as the biggest global trading nation gives it increasing influence, threatening to disrupt regional trading blocs as it becomes the most important commercial partner for countries including Germany, which will export twice as much to China by the end of the decade as it does to neighboring France, said Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Jim O’Neill.