The Chinese economy, which has been growing steadily since the 1980s, exploded in the 21st century. In 2010, China overtook Japan as the world's second-largest economy after the United States, and economists predict that the country will stay strong in the future. A large portion of China's economy involves imports and exports. In 2013, for example, China exports were valued at $2.21 trillion and imports totaled $1.95 trillion.
Approximately 94 percent of all Chinese exports are from manufacturing. Computers, telephones, broadcasting equipment, office machine parts and industrial printers are its most-exported manufactured products. Manufactured machinery in general makes up over 46 percent of annual exports, but China also has a large textile and garment industry whose products make up an additional 11.7 percent of this total. China is also the world's leading exporter of rubber tires, insulated wire, video displays and low-voltage protection equipment.
Natural Resources and Agriculture Exports
The remaining 6 percent of China's annual exports is composed of agricultural products, mining products and fuel. Refined petroleum makes up the largest percentage of exported natural products, followed by vegetable products, stone and glass and general foodstuffs. Other natural exports include wood, paper products, shellfish, minerals and precious metals. Although China's export of natural products and resources is small in comparison with its manufactured goods, it is still extremely lucrative. Refined petroleum alone has an annual export value for China of over $13 billion.
Like China's exports, manufactured products make up the majority (58.2 percent) of its imports; however, unlike its exported products, this number is distributed across many types of products imported in relatively small numbers. The country's most-imported manufactured products include integrated circuits, cars and LCDs, which together account for approximately 12 percent of China's annual imports. Other important imports include vehicle parts, valves, computers and specialized machinery -- the total value of these imports alone is approximately $240 billion annually.
Natural Resource Imports
Although manufactured products compose a larger overall percentage of Chinese imports than natural resources, individual natural resources are the country's most-imported products. For example, crude oil makes up 12.8 percent of China's annual imports and iron ore an additional 6.8 percent. Other major imported natural resources include refined petroleum, soybeans and copper. The annual import cost for petroleum products, soybeans and copper alone is over $300 billion, most of which comes from oil imported from Saudi Arabia, Angola and Iran.
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