China’s trade surplus with US hits record high in 2017
China’s trade surplus with the United States last year rose to a record high, a statistic that is unlikely to help ease tensions between the world’s two largest economies.
The figure rose 8.6 per cent year on year to US$275.8 billion, or about 65 per cent of China’s total global trade surplus, the General Administration of Customs said on Friday.
In December alone, China’s exports to the US rose 10.4 per cent to US$429.7 billion, while its imports of American goods increased by 13.9 per cent to US$153.9 billion, the customs agency said.
China’s overall imports for the month missed market expectations, rising just 4.5 per cent year on year, while exports did better than expected, adding 10.9 per cent from a year earlier.
Tackling the trade gap between the US and China – which Washington has said is US$100 billion wider than Beijing has reported – was one of US President Donald Trump’s election campaign promises, though his administration did not address the matter directly in his first year in the White House.
Beijing has successfully fended off Trump’s campaign rhetoric by making trade concessions, further opening up China’s financial markets and signing US$250 billion worth of deals with the US during the president’s Beijing visit in November. Trump, who labelled China a currency manipulator during his election campaign, also threatened to impose a 45 per cent punitive tariff on inbound goods from China.
Huang Songping, a spokesman for the customs agency, said China would find it hard to maintain double-digit foreign trade growth this year.