China has reported stronger-than-expected trade statistics, with a strong boost in exports suggesting a potential pickup in what has become a worrisome spot in the world’s second largest economy.

The country’s total foreign trade expanded by 6.2 percent in 2012 compared with the previous year, China’s General Administration of Customs said Thursday.

Even though China’s economic growth is slowing and there is concern about the health of the country’s manufacturing industry, the country’s trade still turned in a robust performance last year.

The customs agency said that exports had increased by 14.1 percent in December alone, and 7.9 percent over the year, compared with the total export volume of 2011. Imports, on the other hand, rose by 4.3 percent and the overall trade surplus the country holds rose by 48 percent.

China’s ever-growing trade surplus has prompted U.S. lawmakers to push over the years for the president to declare the country a currency manipulator and impose related penalties. Though the controlled currency has been an ongoing issue since China joined the World Trade Organization a decade ago, the United States president has refrained from imposing the currency manipulation label.

Overall, China’s economy has shown every sign of slowing, causing concern about how the government will adjust its development model moving forward. The gross domestic product grew by 7.4 percent in the third quarter of this year, the weakest growth rate posted in three years, but end-of-year numbers have not yet been released for 2012.

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