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China trade surplus hits record 262 bln dollars in 2007: state media

11 January, 2008

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BEIJING (AFP) - China's trade surplus surged to a record 262.2 billion dollars last year, up 47.7 percent from 2006, the official Xinhua news agency said Friday, citing the customs administration.

Total foreign trade hit a record 2.17 trillion dollars, according to Xinhua.

The surplus, a source of huge concern for the United States and China's other major trading partners, stood at 177.47 billion dollars in 2006.

The United States and other critics have repeatedly criticised China for keeping its currency, the yuan, artificially high, which they argue gives Chinese exporters an unfair advantage and boosts the surplus.

In response, China has allowed the yuan to appreciate gradually, and faster in recent weeks, but has refused to scrap the controls completely.

The yuan hit another record high on Friday morning of 7.2672 yuan to the US dollar, which marked an appreciation of about 12 percent since the currency was de-pegged from the greenback in July 2005.

Premier Wen Jiabao and other Chinese leaders have said repeatedly that the yuan is not the sole, or even most important reason for the trade surplus, with many other factors making the nation's exports ultra-competitive.

End.

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