The trade surplus of 2018 in China with the US reaches a record high of 323 billion dollars, while the trade war continues
The trade surplus of 2018 in China with the United States rose to a record of $ 323.3 billion, but exports contracted in December, when the slowdown in President Trump's rate increases began to dampen demand.
Exports to the US rose by 11.3 percent in 2018 to $ 478.4 billion, despite the punishing tasks of Trump in a battle for Chinese technology ambitions, revealed data from Customs Monday.
Imports of American goods rose by only 0.7 percent in 2017, reflecting Beijing's retiriation rates and encouraging importers to buy more from non-US suppliers.
In December, Chinese exports to the United States declined by 3.5 percent during most of the year compared to a year earlier to $ 40.3 billion.
While President Trump's tariff increases began to hurt demand for Chinese products, last year's trade surplus continued to grow in favor of China
Xi Jinping, shown, had agreed with Trum on 1 December to postpone further 90 day rate increases while negotiating, but billions of dollars had already been imposed
Sales to the US market continued to grow double-digit in the previous months, while Chinese exporters rushed to fill orders, but forecasters said US orders would drop once the full impact of Trump's penalties hit.
The slowdown in growth contributes to the pressure on Beijing to solve the struggle with Trump at a time when the ruling Communist Party is also trying to reverse an economic slowdown.
"The external environment is still complicated and rigid," said a spokesman for the customs office, Li Kuiwen, during a press conference.
Li mentioned dangers including protectionism and unilateralism & # 39; – a reference to Trump's import controls – a possible slowdown in global economic growth and a decline in cross-border investments.
American and Chinese officials ended a three-day negotiating session last week without signs of agreements or words about what would be their next step.
& # 39; The record US trade deficit with China will be uncomfortable with the Trump administration, & # 39; said Nick Marro of the Economist Intelligence Unit in a report. & # 39; That can cast a shadow on the next round of trade negotiations. & # 39;
A cargo ship in a port in Qingdao in Shandong Province in East China. Trade growth in China slowed in 2018 when a tariff battle with Washington was pushed up
Employees moor a container ship in a port in Qingdao in the province of Shandong in East China
Trump and its Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, agreed on 1 December to postpone additional rate increases by 90 days as they negotiated. But fines of up to 25 percent already imposed on billions of dollars of each other's goods remain in place, increasing costs for US and Chinese buyers of soybeans, medical equipment and other goods.
Trump urges Beijing to reverse plans for state-run creation of Chinese champions in robotics and other technical areas. Washington, Europe and other trading partners complain that such policies are in conflict with market opening obligations.
Chinese officials have suggested that initiatives such as & # 39; Made in China 2025 & # 39; can be opened to foreign companies, but they refuse to abandon strategies that they see as a path to prosperity and more global influence.
President Trump sits opposite Chinese president Xi Jinping during a working dinner after the summit of the G20 leaders in Buenos Aires, Argentina, December 1
Chinese leaders try to reduce dependence on trade and promote self-sufficient economic growth based on domestic consumer spending. But ask their plans to keep exports stable in order to prevent politically dangerous job losses.
Some companies have moved the production of goods to the United States from China to avoid Trump's tariffs. Others unite non-Chinese suppliers of industrial components.
The trade contraction in December is & # 39; gladly continue until 2019 due to falling foreign demand, including the demand for Chinese electronic products & # 39 ;, said Iris Pang of ING in a report.
Pang noted that imports of more advanced technology by China in the production of smartphones and other advanced technology products in December fell by 14.9 percent, almost double the contraction in total trade.
That is probably partly due to "foreign companies that do not use China-made electronic components", Pang said in a report.
A worker controls a soya bean feed at a processing plant in Xiaotun, Dafang province in Bijie, in the southwestern province of Guizhou in China
A worker pulls a roll of dust to a paint factory in Hangzhou in the province of Zhejiang in East China
In December China's global exports contracted by 4.5 percent to $ 221.2 billion, while imports dropped 7.2 percent to $ 164.2 billion.
For the full year, global exports increased 7.1 percent to $ 2.5 trillion, down from 7.9 percent for 2017. Imports increased 12.9 percent to $ 2.1 trillion, compared to the 15.9 percent of the previous year.
The surplus on world trade was $ 352 billion, a marked decrease from the $ 509.7 billion in 2017. This reflects a relatively stronger Chinese economic growth and consumer demand in comparison with its trading partners.
Given Trump's frustration over China's huge trade gap with the United States, the latest data can fuel hardliners' demand in Washington to punish Beijing.
Yet Louis Kuijs of Oxford Economics says that he expects Washington to extend the 90-day deadline after the positive vibes & # 39; of last week's conversations.
We do not see that the US will soon completely remove the specter of rate increases, & # 39; he said in a report. But a deal for & # 39; a more sustainable suspension of new rates & # 39; seems more likely.