Exports amounted to USD 170 billion in March of 2014, down from USD 182 billion a year earlier. In February, sales fell 18 percent year-on-year.
Shipments to Japan recorded the highest annual growth rate (11 percent), followed by sales to the ASEAN countries (10.3 percent) and Australia (9.9 percent). Exports to the EU increased 8.8 percent, while those to the US increased a meager 1.2 percent year-on-year. In contrast, sales to Taiwan shrank sharply by 23.5 percent.
Imports amounted to USD 162 billion, compared with USD 183 billion in March of 2013, as crude oil imports fell to a five-month low. Purchases from Taiwan recorded the highest annual drop (-32.9 percent), followed by the US (-11.7 percent) and the ASEAN countries (-7.4 percent).
Considering the first quarter, exports fell 3.4 percent from a year earlier, while imports increased 1.6 percent, producing a trade surplus of USD 16.6 billion, down 59.7 percent from a year earlier.
Chinese government is targeting total trade growth of 7.5 percent this year. China's total trade grew 7.6 percent in 2013, below the official target of 8 percent.
China's Commerce Ministry has pledged to maintain steady trade growth in 2014 and further balance the trade structure by increasing imports of raw materials and energy products.