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China Passes US as Japan’s Top Trading Partner

NYT. China surpassed the United States as Japan’s top trading partner for the first time last year, highlighting the growing economic ties between Japan and its rapidly expanding neighbor.

China, including Hong Kong, accounted for 20.1 percent of Japan’s total foreign trade last year, compared with an 18.6 percent share for the United States, according to figures released Wednesday by Japan’s Ministry of Finance. By value, Japan’s trade with China and Hong Kong, including exports and imports, rose to a record high 22.20 trillion yen ($215 billion) in 2004, outstripping the 20.48 trillion yen in trade with its longtime top partner, the United States.

The increase in Japan’s trade with China has been driven in part by China’s surging growth, but even more, economists say, by the expanding use of China as a production base for Japanese cars, computers and electronic gadgets that are then shipped around the world.


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