Published: Mon, January 14, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

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Imports rose 12.9 percent to $2.1 trillion, down from the previous year's 15.9 percent.

That compared with about $275.81 billion in 2017.

China's global exports rose 7.1 percent to $2.5 trillion, down from the 7.9 percent rate reported earlier for 2017.

"Our country's export and import have reached record highs, and there is reason to hope that we will continue to remain the world's largest trading nation".

Traditionally China imports vast quantities of American soybeans in the second half of the year - but the buying fell off after China hit United States soybeans with a 25 percent retaliatory import tariff this summer. That reflects the impact of Beijing's retaliatory tariffs and encouragement to importers to buy more from non-U.S. suppliers.

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China will work to straighten out trade frictions with the U.S. this year, the country's commerce minister told state media on Friday.

Renewed fears over the strength of the global economy piled pressure on stock markets and commodity prices this morning after China revealed a sharp drop in exports.

"Private enterprises contributed more than half to China's foreign trade growth in 2018, a bright spot of China's foreign trade development", said the spokesman.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly slammed China's trade surplus with the US and the country's allegedly unfair trade practices.

Official data showed the manufacturing sector contracted in December for the first time in more than two years.

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