China's soaring trade surplus is largely due to slumping prices in imports, and the big trade gap was not intentional, a commerce official said on Friday.
"The government encourages imports," Vice Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said at a press conference, adding that the market should not read too much into the trade surplus numbers.
Denominated in Chinese yuan, exports increased 4.9 percent last year, while imports fell 0.6 percent as sliding global oil and commodities prices reduced import costs.
The foreign trade surplus widened to 45.9 percent year on year, or 2.35 trillion yuan, official figures showed.
Zhong said the surplus in goods trade was due to made-in-China products being strong competitively in the global market. However, in terms of service trade, China posted a huge deficit.