China calls for patience as trade surplus with U.S. soars in Q1

Clay Curtis
April 14, 2018

The latest readings on the health of China's trade sector are unlikely to ease tensions following weeks of tit-for-tat tariff threats by Washington and Beijing, though they suggest China's economy is still in relatively solid shape.

The Auto Care Association and more than 100 trade groups have penned a letter expressing concern to Congress regarding the potential impact of tariffs President Donald Trump's administration is using to address China's unfair trade practices.

However, the trade deficit for the year ending in March widened to $156.8 billion from $105.72 billion in the previous year, a growing concern for the central bank, the data showed.

The statistical authority also said the the top export market for the European Union with exports amounting to €61.7 billion ($75.9 billion), accounting for 20.58 percent of the 28 countries' exports in January and February.

The global trade balance often slips into deficit for one month early each year as factories restock following the Lunar New Year holiday.

In 2017, China imported 1.4 billion bushels of USA soybeans, 62 percent of total US exports and almost one-third of USA annual soy production.

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Against the backdrop of recent tensions, customs administration spokesman Huang Songping repeated China's line that it is not looking for an advantage over its trading partners.

"As producers of the Nation's number one agricultural export, soybean farmers want to be an essential part of helping lower our trade deficit with China". "We hope that the United States will listen patiently to rational and pragmatic voices on the trade balance issue".

Brookings Institution released the results of the research this Monday, showing how China's proposed tariffs against a trade conflict ignited by Washington would affect the U.S. workers and industries.

"He's going to get rid of a lot of taxes and tariffs", Trump said of Xi.

Evidence "strongly indicates" that "China has sustained a broad effort to develop a broad range of counter-space capabilities", the US-based Secure World Foundation said in its April 2018 report. "And, you know, at a certain point, they run out of bullets".

No hard timeline has been set by either Washington or Beijing for the actual imposition of tariffs, which leaves the door open to negotiations and a possible compromise which could limit the damage to both sides.

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