Caixin
Sep 08, 2018 06:43 PM

China Trade Surplus with U.S. Grew in August Despite U.S. Tariffs

Iron pipes are ready to be shipped out at a port in eastern China’s Lianyungang, Jiangsu province on Saturday. Photo: VCG
Iron pipes are ready to be shipped out at a port in eastern China’s Lianyungang, Jiangsu province on Saturday. Photo: VCG

China’s exports to the U.S. and its surplus with its largest trade partner continued to grow in August, despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s escalating tariff offensive aimed at reducing the imbalance.

Exports to the U.S. grew 13.2% in August from a year earlier to $44.39 billion, with the growth rate accelerating from 11.2% in July.

The August trade surplus with the U.S. widened $2.97 billion from July to $31.05 billion, according to Chinese government figures released on Saturday. The surplus was $26.23 billion in August 2017.

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The Trump administration began levying a 25% tariff on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods in early July, and slapped tariffs on an additional $16 billion of Chinese imports at the end of August, citing the widening trade deficit and China’s “stealing” of U.S. intellectual property. On Friday, Trump said he would sanction an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods “very soon” and threatened to impose higher tariffs on a further $267 billion of Chinese goods if Beijing did not offer concessions soon.

Analysts said the rise in exports to the U.S. in August was due in part to a rush by some companies to bring goods into the U.S. before further tariffs were imposed.

Worldwide, China’s trade growth slowed down in August. According to figures of the General Administration of Customs, China’s export growth rate slowed to 9.8% in August from 12.2% in July, while import growth also moderated, to 20.0% from 27.3% a month earlier.

The August growth rate of exports to Japan fell a sharp 8.5 percentage points from July to 3.8%. Exports to Brazil and Russia shrank in August, with both their growth rates down more than 14 percentage points from July.

According to the customs data, China imported 6.2 million tons of soybeans in the first eight months of this year, 2.1% less than the same period of last year; imports of automobiles also dropped 2.4% to 780,000 units.

Chinese and American officials held another round of talks in Aug. 22-24 in Washington, D.C. No progress was reported.

Contact reporter Wu Gang (gangwu@caixin.com)

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