Tuesday, 23 July, 2019

China imports from U.S. plunge in June amid tariff war

US, China negotiators resume trade war talks Trump says China is letting U.S. down by not buying farm products
Ginger Lawrence | 12 July, 2019, 22:10

China said Thursday that the thorny trade issues plaguing relations with the United States are resolvable after fractious talks between the economic giants were kickstarted by the Trump-Xi meeting in Japan.

Data out Friday showed that the hostilities are taking a toll.

U.S. President Donald Trump wrote on his Twitter on July 11 that China is "letting us down" by not promptly buying more American farm goods as had been promised.

The charts above are based on global trade data reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, which were recently updated to include May 2019.

"It seems the two sides are arm-wrestling about the basis on which they'll resume talks, as well as when and where", said Zhou Xiaoming, a former commerce ministry official and diplomat.

China's exports fell in June as the United States ramped up trade pressure, while imports shrank more than expected, pointing to further strains on the world's second-largest economy.

China bought 127,800 metric tons of USA soybeans last week, the equivalent of about two cargoes and a 79 per cent reduction from the previous week. And a substantive solution likely would require China to scale back its ambitions to become a world leader in advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and electric cars.

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"Our base case remains that trade talks will break down again before long", said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics in a report.

In the readout of the Xi-Trump meeting published by the state-run Xinhua news agency, it only mentioned that Mr Trump said he hoped China could increase imports from the USA, and didn't say how Mr Xi or the Chinese team responded.

Trade weakness has added to pressure on Xi's government to shore up economic growth and avoid politically unsafe job losses. "Hopefully, they will start soon".

Mr Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the state-owned Global Times newspaper tweeted late Thursday that the "achievement of Osaka summit is a China-US consensus, not a unilateral commitment China made to the US".

Washington and Beijing have hit each other with punitive tariffs covering more than $360 billion in two-way trade, damaging manufacturers on both sides of the Pacific.

Ministry spokesman Gao Feng also said during a weekly news briefing that China hopes the United States will remove sanctions on Huawei Technologies Co Ltd as soon as possible and clear a path for healthy bilateral relations.