Chinese exports drop in March, but trade gap with US widens

Editorial Team
Published 6 years ago on 16 April, 2018-32 views
Chinese exports drop in March, but trade gap with US widens

China’s export growth unexpectedly fell last month, the first drop since February 2017. That’s unlikely to ease trade tensions as the country’s widening surplus with the US is likely to further infuriate Donald Trump.

China’s trade surplus with the United States surged 19.4 percent to $58.25 billion (€47.22 billion) between January and March, as exports gained 14.8 percent from the same period a year earlier, while imports rose only 8.9 percent.

The latest data released on Friday show that China continues to benefit disproportionately from the two-way trade between the world’s biggest economies, with Beijing calling Friday on Washington to be patient as tensions over the huge trade gap simmer.

Fears of a trade war have been rumbling since last month as US President Donald Trump has threatened a series of tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods to curb what he called massive intellectual property theft and revise bilateral trade relations he deems “unfair.”

In view of the latest figures, China’s Customs Bureau spokesman Huang Songping repeated the government’s line that it was not looking for an advantage over its trading partners. “We don’t strive for a favorable balance of trade (for China), the current state of trade affairs are shaped by the market,” he told a briefing in Beijing on Friday.

“We hope that the US will listen patiently to rational and pragmatic voices on the trade balance issue,” he said, reiterating that China didn’t want a trade war because frictions were “not conducive to China’s interests, nor is it conducive to the interests of the US.”

Read more: China renews pledge to ‘fight back’ in trade row with the US

China’s president, Xi Jinping, pledged this week to cut tariffs in some sectors. Trump’s warm response has calmed some concerns, but a vast gulf in expectations remains between the two nations.

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