chapter  6
China’s quest for greater infl uence in global economic governance: accomplishments and limitations
Pages 19

China’s ability to play a signifi cant role in global governance depends very much on its continuing economic strength. The fact that China’s foreign behavior now attracts so much international attention is due mainly to its phenomenal economic rise and its increasing mesh with the global economy. Barely signifi cant in the global economy when Mao Zedong died in 1976, the country has now become the second largest economy and trading nation after the United States ( NYT , 2011: Feburary 14). 1 In 2005, China’s gross domestic product (GDP ) soared past France, Britain, and Italy ( NYT 2006: January 25); and by mid-2008 it surpassed Germany’s (Keidal 2008 ). Despite the global economic downturn in 2007-9, China’s GDP grew 9.1 percent in 2009 and 10.3 percent in 2010 (People’s Daily 2010: July 2; NBS 2011). Its trade surplus reached a record high of $295.5 billion in 2008; although it was reduced to $185 billion in 2009, China overtook Germany to become the world’s biggest exporter that year.