The General Administration of Customs said China's total foreign trade in 2012 expanded by 6.2 percent year-on-year to $3.867 trillion, with exports for the year rising by 7.9 percent year-on-year and imports by 4.3 percent, yielding a trade surplus of $231.1 billion.
In December, the Chinese Commerce Ministry announced it has set a growth target of 8 percent in foreign trade for 2013, China Daily reported.
China is the world's largest exporter and the second-largest importer. The ministry says China's share in global trade increased to 11.1 percent in 2012 from 10.4 percent in 2011.
Commerce Minister Chen Deming said the target for 2013 is prudent given the challenging international trade environment. Chinese policymakers also want to expand domestic demand to reduce reliance on exports.
The country is also losing its advantage of cheap labor, analysts have said.