BEIJING, March 12 (UPI) -- China's February exports grew 52 percent from a year earlier to $82.1 billion, while imports grew 13 percent to $58.34 billion, customs figures showed Monday.
This brought the country's monthly trade surplus to $23.76 billion, just shy of the largest monthly figure on record, the figures showed.
Central bank Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan said Beijing was taking a long-term approach to the imbalance, seeking to increase domestic consumption and boost imports, while encouraging more growth in the service sector instead of export-driven manufacturing.
Zhou said the surplus was not a deliberate result of Beijing policy, adding it would be hard for policymakers to reduce it.
China's foreign minister separately said China strongly opposed the 27.5 percent tariff increase on Chinese goods that some U.S. lawmakers propose.
"If implemented, such a policy is more than protectionism and becomes hegemonism," the official Xinhua news agency quoted Bo Xilai as saying at a news conference.