Customs data released Monday show exports rose 11.3 percent to $478.4 billion despite President Donald Trump's punitive tariffs in a fight over Chinese technology ambitions. Imports of American goods rose just 0.7 percent over 2017. That reflects the impact of Beijing's retaliatory tariffs and encouragement to importers to buy more from non-U.S. suppliers.
However, the data show December exports to U.S. contracted 3.5 percent compared with year ago as Trump tariff hikes hit. China's global exports rose 7.1 percent to $2.5 trillion, down from the 7.9 percent rate reported earlier for 2017. Imports rose 12.9 percent to $2.1 trillion, down from the previous year's 15.9 percent.
The country's global trade surplus was $352 billion.
China's government reports 2018 exports rose 7.1 percent as a trade battle with Washington intensified, while imports were up 12.9 percent.
Monday's announcement comes as Beijing tries to reverse a decline in economic growth while facing a potential fall-off in American orders for Chinese goods following President Donald Trump's tariff hikes in the fight over China's technology ambitions.
Chinese exporters also face pressure from cooling consumer demand in other global markets.