Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

China Trade Surplus with US Grew Sharply in April

President Donald Trump    Mark Wilson  Getty Images President Donald Trump Mark Wilson Getty Images
Glenn Montgomery | 09 May, 2018, 00:57

Highlighting the challenge of significantly reducing that gap any time soon, China's trade surplus with the U.S. widened to US$22.19 billion last month, from US$15.43 billion in March, according to Reuters calculations based on customs data released yesterday. Exports amounted to USD200.4 billion.

China's fuel imports grew 21 percent on-year to 3.01 million tonnes.

U.S. officials led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin visited Beijing last week for negotiations with the Chinese government, but the meeting appeared to yield little except an agreement that the two powers would continue to communicate despite "big differences" between them.

"We believe this shows the USA wishes to reach a consensus with China on trade issues", ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing.

Trump has regularly said current trade practices are unfair and hurting American companies and jobs, and has threatened to impose import tariffs to the tune of $150 billion on Chinese goods.

On Tuesday morning, Mr. Trump tweeted that he would talk with Chinese President Xi Jinping at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Both exports and imports beat economists' expectations. "The president has a great relationship with President Xi", Sanders said.

The country's surplus with the USA expanded to $22.19B - compared with a surplus of $15.43B in March. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy Larry Kudlow, and Assistant to the President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro were all on the trip.

The negotiations could head off the threatened United States tariffs targeting $150 billion in imports, while China has warned $50 billion in goods are in the firing line. Last year's merchandise trade surplus totaled $375 billion, according to USA data, while Chinese statistics put it at about $276 billion. The high-level meetings are "constructive moves in the right direction" to resolve the tensions, she said.

However, last week China said "big differences" remained between the two sides after the first round of talks.

This will hopefully encourage a pragmatic approach to the trade negotiations by Chinese policymakers in order to avoid the imposition of tariffs and an even sharper slowdown in export growth, Evans-Pritchard added.

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