Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

China's trade surplus with United States soars 19.4% in first quarter

China's trade surplus with United States soars 19.4% in first quarter

"Every inch of our great motherland's territory can not be separated from China", President Xi said during a nationalistic speech at the National People's Congress in March, drawing huge applause.

Sales of new energy vehicles, mainly comprising electric and hybrid vehicles, jumped by over 117% year on year to 68,000 units last month.

USA efforts to boost exports of technology-based goods, begun under Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, conflict with China's plan for state-led development of global competitors in fields from robotics to electric cars.

The main source of concern is the escalating tensions with China after Trump last month imposed steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, and then then hit Beijing with punitive duties in retaliation for massive theft of United States intellectual property.

"There's still a grey area", said one manufacturer who declined to be named, adding that there was scope for some factories to fudge such codes to avoid tariffs.

Retail sales are projected to have increased 9.7 percent in March, matching readings in the first two months, while industrial production rose 6.4 percent, a slowdown from January and February, according to economist estimates.

Honda's sales fell by 13% to 97,587 units in March with the brand hindered by engine problems which forced it to temporarily suspend sales of CRV and Civic models produced at its Dongfeng Honda Automobile joint venture last month.

"In recent years, Chinese economic growth held steady at a medium-high rate to become an indispensable engine and anchor for the world economic recovery and sustainable development", the NBS said in a statement.

"We don't want a trade war, but we are not afraid of it", said the spokeswoman, Hua Chunying.

"We believe export growth will slow due to yuan appreciation and rising trade tensions.China's imports could be more resilient than exports in our view as China has pledged to increase imports", Wang said. Its imports from the U.S. rose 8.9 percent in the quarter and 3.2 percent in March.

China registered a rare deficit of $4.98 billion with the rest of the world last month owing to seasonal factors such as the Lunar New Year holiday.

- The manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) came in at 51.5 in March, the strongest level this year.

Xi "said he's going to open up China".

While Washington does not challenge Communist China's claim over Taiwan, the official USA policy simply states that people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait recognize there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China.

During Trump's first year in office the surplus reached record highs - $375 billion by United States counting, or $276 billion according to Chinese data.

China's overall March imports grew 14.4 per cent from a year ago, beating analysts' forecast for 10.0 per cent growth, and compared with 6.3 per cent growth in February.

China announced a $3 billion list of US goods for possible retaliation in a tariff dispute with President Donald Trump and girded Friday for a bigger battle over technology policy as financial markets sank on fears of global disruption.

China's exports rode a global trade boom previous year, expanding at the fastest pace since 2013 and serving as one of the key drivers behind the economy's forecast-beating expansion.

"We don't strive for a favorable balance of trade [for China], the current state of trade affairs are shaped by the market", Huang told a media briefing in Beijing on Friday.

The latest trade data from China shows the country is benefiting from two-way trade with the United States.

The company in the eastern city of Ningbo is among exporters of goods from motorcycle parts to electronics that are scrambling to cope with President Donald Trump's higher duties by shipping early, raising prices or finding new markets.

Hi-tech products have been among its fastest growing export segments.

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