(FILES) This file photo taken on July 22, 2021 shows a cargo ship loaded with containers berthing at

In December, the country’s trade surplus with the rest of the world increased by 20.8%, compared to the same month of the previous year, to a record value of 94.4 billion dollars (82 billion euros), according to the customs data released this Friday.

The surplus in China’s trade balance is criticized by its trading partners, especially the United States.

This year, while these countries tried to contain the covid-19 pandemic, China kept its economic activity intact, reinforcing its importance in supply chains.

Exports rose to US$3.3 billion (€2.8 billion) in 2021, despite shortages of chips, processors for cell phones and other goods, as global demand recovered from the pandemic.

Manufacturers have also been hampered by energy rationing in some areas to meet government efficiency targets.

The surplus with the United States, which is politically sensitive and has already motivated a protracted trade war, recorded a year-on-year increase in 2021, by 25.1%, to 396.6 billion dollars (345 billion euros).

Trade representatives from the two countries have held talks since US President Joe Biden took office in January, but have yet to announce a date to resume face-to-face negotiations.

Exports to the United States increased by 27.5%, compared to 2020, to 576.1 billion dollars (502 billion euros). Chinese imports of US products rose 33.1% to US$179.5 billion (€156 billion).

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