Tuesday, June 25, 2019
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China signs record trade surplus with the United States

The rebalancing of trade between the United States and China long awaited by Donald Trump remains a wishful thinking. Despite the outbreak of the trade war between the two powers, China announced Monday, a trade surplus with the United States in 2018 at a level unparalleled in recent years.

Inflated for the second year in a row, it was $ 323.3 billion, up 17% from 2017. This is the largest trade surplus since 2006, according to the agency. Reuters. In detail, Chinese exports to the United States grew by 11.3% while US imports grew by only 0.7%.

Trade Negotiations

The announcement of this record surplus comes in full trade negotiations between Beijing and Washington. The two countries have given themselves until March 2 to try to resolve their differences, after the truce of 90 days concluded between the heads of state Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, on the sidelines of the G20 of Buenos Aires.

Last week, the two sides negotiated for three days in Beijing, an intermediate step before next meetings of higher level. Xi Jinping's chief economic adviser and craftsman of an agreement last spring (quickly canceled by Donald Trump), Liu He should notably go to Washington at the end of the month, if the American "shutdown" does not jostle the agenda .

Winds contrary

This record trade surplus with the United States goes against the general trend. China's trade surplus broadly deflated in 2018, down 16.2 percent to $ 351.8 billion, according to figures released by Customs. Colossal, this surplus of the Asian giant is still the lowest since 2013. Last year, imports, up 15.8%, grew faster than exports which increased by 9.9%, their growth rate since 2011.

The world's leading exporting power will continue to grow steadily in 2019, but it faces headwinds, Customs spokesman Li Kuiwen said. While official data indicates that China's economy has been resilient for much of last year, signs of slowing are on the rise.

In December, Chinese exports fell 4.4% year-on-year, their biggest drop in two years, "indicating a significant slowdown in world trade growth and a growing impact of US tariffs," Louis said. Kuijs, an economist at Oxford Economics, noting a decline in exports to the United States in December (-3.5%). China's total imports also slowed sharply (to 7.6%) in December, confirming the slowdown in domestic demand. "The slowdown in imports is consistent with other signs that China's domestic growth continues to weaken," Kuijs said.

Fred Schaeffer

Beijing correspondent

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