• Bloomberg

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Trade between China and Japan is set to pick up this year after a two-year slump, irrespective of political tensions, according to the Japan External Trade Organization.

Japan’s trade deficit with China widened last year by 18 percent to a record $52.2 billion as the Chinese economy restructured and its growth slowed, Yoichi Maie, head of research at JETRO’s China and North Asia division, said at a briefing Tuesday. Japan’s exports fell by 10 percent as China cut construction and mining machinery orders, he said.

“I can’t say that political issues between Japan and China did not have an effect — we saw the drop in Japanese car sales — but by far the biggest influence on trade volumes was economic,” Maie said. “This year we’re looking for volumes to pick up slightly.”

China’s push for more environmentally friendly equipment and to reduce industrial overcapacity, and rising consumer spending and factory output, should boost trade, he said.

JETRO forecasts a recovery in Japanese exports of auto parts, and continuing growth in Japan’s purchase of Chinese smartphones and telecommunications equipment, to also weigh positively, Maie said.

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