OpinionMeister

Thursday, January 27, 2005

China Replaces US as Japan's Top Trade Partner

The Japan Times reports that in 2004, China became Japan's top trading partner. Link.

Finance Ministry data released Wednesday show that Japan's exports to and imports from China, including Hong Kong, amounted to 22.20 trillion yen in 2004 -- the highest since records began in 1947 -- outpacing the 20.48 trillion yen in trade with the U.S.

China represented 20.1 percent of Japan's trade in 2004, compared with 18.6 percent for the U.S., a ministry official said. In 2003, the U.S. had 20.5 percent and China 19.2 percent.

Exports to China came to 11.83 trillion yen and imports reached 10.37 trillion yen, giving Japan a 1.46 trillion yen customs-cleared trade surplus with China.

Exports to the U.S. came to 13.72 trillion yen and imports to 6.76 trillion yen, for a 6.96 trillion yen trade surplus for Japan.

Joining the WTO certainly has improved China's trade. Keeping the economic engine growing will require increasing economic liberty , and this has to be a plus for the Chinese people. It is very difficult to keep increasing economic liberty while maintaining political authoritarianism. Don't expect real democracy anytime soon, but the economic forces there will be pushing the country in that direction.

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