While charging ahead to become the world’s second largest economy by gross domestic product, China devoured a massive amount of all kinds of metals, fuels, and crops from around the world. Australia, along with countries in Africa and South America, built its own dreams of prosperity on China’s rapid growth. The present recession in China therefore affects not only Chinese people but also dozens of developing countries prepared to sell mineral resources to China.
Over the past 20 years, China has transformed from playing a marginal role in the world economy to becoming an engine pushing the economic growth of many countries. “Engine,” in this context, does not refer to the cheap “Made in China” products, but to China’s increasing need for resources that led to development in these places. Through this, China has become the world’s largest buyer of resources and agricultural products.
In October 2013, China officially replaced the United States as the world’s largest net oil importer, surpassing the United States’ imports of 624 million barrels per day. Nearly 60 percent of China’s oil consumption depended on foreign oil.
In addition, about half of the world’s pork was consumed by China. In 2014, the European Union’s pork exports to China increased slightly to 368,700 tons, amounting to 65 percent of China’s pork imports. The main EU pork exporters to China are Spain, Denmark, Germany, and the United Kingdom.