The Wall Street Journal reports on China’s remarkable rise in global trade over the past ten years and how it is changing the world:
“When somebody writes the history of our time 50 or 100 years from now,” says Lawrence Summers, the Harvard University economist and former Obama aide, “it is unlikely to be about the Great Recession of 2008…or about the fiscal problem that America confronted in the second decade of the 21st century. It will be about how the world adjusted to the movement of the theater of history toward China.”
China’s growth is felt in nearly every corner of the globe—in ways not always welcome. Its rise as a trading power is reshaping other economies, shifting national business models from manufacturing back to raw materials, pushing currencies in sometimes unwanted directions and prompting worries about wages in the U.S.
China, which reported a trade deficit for February in part because of the timing of the Lunar New Year, said exports for the first two months of this year ran 21.3% above year-ago levels; imports were up 36%. The U.S., meanwhile, said Thursday it ran a bigger trade deficit in January with China than with any other country. In January, at current exchange rates, China’s global exports were 35% greater than U.S. exports; its global imports 14% smaller.
While China’s official statistics may inflate the value of exports by underestimating the value of imported components, signposts of its trade heft are plentiful.