Shanghai reported a record trade deficit of 17.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2011, widening from 7.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, local customs said Thursday.
Shanghai's exports rose 16 percent year-on-year to 209.8 billion U.S. dollars while imports climbed at a faster pace of 21 percent to 227.6 billion U.S. dollars, Shanghai Customs said in a statement.
"The trade deficit showed China's opening-up has brought increased market opportunities for foreign businesses," said Luo Zhisong, an expert with the Shanghai municipal commission of commerce.
"It also showed the strengths of China's economic growth and consumer spending," Luo said.
Shanghai has reported trade deficits for most of the past 10 years except 2007, 2008 and 2009.
The agricultural sector contributed to 7.6 billion U.S. dollars of the deficit. Shanghai imported 129,000 tonnes of pork last year, 2.9 times more than the previous year. The city also imported more wine, olive oil, chocolate and fruits.
Last year, Shanghai also imported around 50 percent more high-end products, including cars, diamonds, clothing and watches.
Shanghai trade figures were different from that of the whole country which showed a smaller trade surplus of 155.1 billion U.S. dollars than in 2010.
China's trade surplus is expected to narrow further to 120 billion U.S. dollars in 2012, according to a research report from the Bank of Communications.