For the first time, China overtook Germany as the world's biggest exporter during the first half of 2009, the World Trade Organization reported Tuesday.
From January through June 2009, China's total export volume amounted to $521.7 billion, slightly exceeding Germany's exports, which totaled $521.6 billion.
Germany has long been the biggest exporter of goods and services but has been closely followed by China in recent years. In 2007, Germany exported $1.32 trillion of goods over the full year while China's exports reached $1.22 trillion, according to the WTO. However, between 2000 and 2007 China's exports grew by an average annual rate of 25 percent, while Germany's exports grew by only 13 percent a year.
A WTO spokesperson said China and Germany remain very close in the competition, and it is too soon to say if China will overtake Germany as the world's largest goods exporter for all of 2009. The final results will depend on several unknown factors, including foreign exchange rates and the pace of economic recovery in the various markets that buy exports from China and Germany in coming months.
Contact Alan M. Field at email@example.com.