Jan. 10 - China's foreign trade in 2012 expanded 6.2 percent year-on-year to $3.867 trillion,missing the government's 10-percent annual target.
The country's exports and imports volume totaled $3.87 trillion last year, and growth slowed sharply from the 22.5-percent rise registered in 2011, Zheng Yuesheng, General Administration of Customs spokesman said.
Exports throughout 2012 rose by 7.9 percent year-on-year while imports increased by 4.3 percent, yielding a trade surplus of $231.1 billion, up 48 percent from a year earlier, the General Administration of Customs announced Thursday.
Zheng said 2012's trade performance came despite "a deepening debt crisis in the Eurozone, a sharply slowing world economic recovery, continuously sluggish demand on the global market and big downward pressure on the domestic economy."
The country's trade will be "slightly better" in 2013 than 2012, he said.
In December alone, the value of Chinese exports gained 14.1 percent from one year earlier, up from November's unexpectedly-weak 2.9 percent rise. The value of imports rose 6 percent year on year last month, improving from November when there was no growth.
Trade with Europe, China's biggest trade partner, declined 3.7 percent year on year in 2012. Trade with the United States, which overtook Europe to be the biggest buyer of China's exports, expanded 8.5 percent from one year earlier.
Japan dropped to be China's fifth largest trade parter, from fourth. Trade between the two countries last year sank 3.9 percent from 2011 amid tensions after Japan's illegal "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands.