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China's US trade surplus hit record in 2018 but tariffs bite

China's US trade surplus hit record in 2018 but tariffs bite

China's success in selling its products overseas has particularly irked US President Donald Trump, who has initiated a trade war with China to try to hold back exports.

However, it is also important that China is an important indicator of the global economy since trade often responds very quickly to global economic trends.

"The bad trade data will quite likely increase the pressure on China to achieve a deal, or at least a suspension of the USA tariff hikes", said Louis Kuijs, chief Asia economist at Oxford Economics in Hong Kong.

"An overwhelming majority of economists point to the high consumption levels and low savings rates in the U.S.as a major determinant of large USA trade deficits in general, and China in particular", Michelle Casario, an associate professor at Villanova University, said in an email to CBS MoneyWatch.

President Donald Trump said Monday he expects to be able to reach a trade deal with China, which is feeling the impact of U.S. tariffs.

Customs data showed that Chinese exports rose 11.3 percent in 2018 to $478.4 billion, while imports from the USA only rose by 0.7 percent.

The Trump administration also wants Beijing to buy more American goods to narrow a yawning trade gap - a sticking point for United States president - and allow foreign players better access to the Chinese market. China has retaliated with tariffs of its own. Exports to America increased the official Chinese Figures show that in 2018, up by 11.3 percent.

"Private enterprises contributed more than half to China's foreign trade growth in 2018, a bright spot of China's foreign trade development", said the spokesman.

The fall of exports in December which is the biggest since December 2016, when China grew at its slowest pace since 1990 was the first indication that the trade war with United States is biting Beijing.

Exports rose 7.1 per cent, customs data showed Monday, down from the 7.9 per cent reported earlier for 2017.

China's total global exports rose 9.9 percent in 2018, its strongest performance in seven years, while imports increased 15.8 percent.

"Export growth dropped more than anticipated as global growth softened and the drag from US tariffs intensified".

China's USA trade surplus hit a record high of $323bn in 2018, the highest in more than a decade, according to figures released by the country's General Administration of Customs on January 14.

China's General Administration of Customs said on Monday that the biggest worry in trade this year is external uncertainty and protectionism, forecasting the country's trade growth may slow in 2019.

"The global electronics cycle remains the key driver of Chinese exports".

"The import slowdown is consistent with other signs that growth in China's domestic economy continued to weaken", said Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics at Oxford Economics.

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