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As Russia pivots to the east, trade with China is booming

A cargo ship is seen at a port in Qingdao in China's eastern Shandong province on Friday A cargo ship is seen at a port in Qingdao in China's eastern Shandong province on Friday
Ginger Lawrence | 12 October, 2018, 18:41

BEIJING-China's trade surplus with the United States widened to a record $34.1 billion in September as exports to the American market rose by 13 percent over a year earlier despite a worsening tariff war.

Beginning previous year, the National Security Council led a review of China's efforts to obtain nuclear material, equipment and advanced technology from US companies, government officials said in a conference call with reporters on Thursday.

The United States and China imposed new tit-for-tat tariffs against each other's goods in late September, the latest escalation in a heated trade war between the world's two largest economies.

The two countries imposed new tariffs on a massive amount of each other's goods mid-September, with the United States targeting $200bn in Chinese imports and Beijing firing back at $60bn worth of USA goods.

With global growth cooling and USA threats of more tariff hikes, "the recent resilience of exports is unlikely to be sustained", said Evans-Pritchard.

Washington announced the nuclear technology controls a day after the U.S. Justice Department said it had arrested and indicted a spy for China's Ministry of State Security on charges of economic espionage.

China's exports to the USA continued to rise at a double- digit clip in September compared with a year earlier, while imports fell for the first time since February.

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"With global growth likely to cool further in the coming quarters and U.S. tariffs set to become more punishing, the recent resilience of exports is unlikely to be sustained".

US nuclear exports to China amounted to $170 million in 2017, the officials said.

"Exports continued to defy United States tariffs last month but imports struggled in the face of cooling domestic demand", said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics in a report.

"We will watch for downside risks to China's exports" in the fourth quarter, Wang said.

Separately, on Fox News, President Trump made it clear the pressure will continue: "They lived too well for too long and, frankly, I guess they think that the Americans are stupid people".

China's economy is feeling some heat from tariff dispute and signs of slowing that prompted the central bank on Sunday to loosen policy by cutting banks' reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for a fourth time this year.

China's stock market has plunged this year but the trade war has also started to erode Trump's oft-touted U.S. stock gains, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than five percent for the week.