Hello, empire? China announced that it has surpassed the US in at least one economic category, becoming the world's top trading nation in goods. China says that last year its combined imports and exports barely edged out America's, $3.87 trillion to $3.82 trillion, the Guardian reports. The Asian giant also measured a trade surplus in goods of $231.1 billion, shining in comparison to the US goods deficit of over $700 billion.
But China's new status as top trading nation has a downside, highlighting its dependence on the world to spur income and create jobs. The US economy is more self-contained, with its big internal goods market, and dwarfs China's overall economy by $15 trillion to $7.3 trillion. Still, China is becoming a heck of a trading partner, says one expert: "By the end of the decade many European countries will be doing more individual trade with China than with bilateral partners in Europe." (Read more China stories.)