Published: Wed, January 16, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

China having hard rime with tariffs, will reach trade deal soon

China having hard rime with tariffs, will reach trade deal soon

But the buying fell off a year ago after China imposed a 25 percent retaliatory tariff on the commodity in the summer.

Imports increased 15.8 percent previous year, resulting in a trade surplus of $351.76 billion, the country's lowest since 2013.

Softening demand in China is already being felt around the world, with slowing sales of goods ranging from iPhones to automobiles adding to fears of cooling global growth.

Trade turnover between Russian Federation and China soared by almost 30 percent in 2018, reaching a record number of $107.06 billion, according to the latest report released by China's General Administration of Customs (GAC).

That left the country with a trade surplus of $57.06 billion for the month, the General Administration of Customs said, compared with analysts' expectations for a surplus of $51.53 billion, up from $44.71 billion in November.

China's trade with the European Union, the United States and the ASEAN countries increased 7.9 percent, 5.7 percent and 11.2 percent, respectively, with their combined trade volume accounting for 41.2 percent of China's total foreign trade.

China's large trade surplus with the United States has always been a sore point with Washington, and is at the centre of a bitter dispute between the world's biggest economies.

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The meetings in China were the first face-to-face discussions since Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Buenos Aires in December and agreed to a 90-day truce in the trade war that has disrupted the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars of goods.

China's annual passenger vehicle sales fell last year for the first time in more than 20 years, as the trade war with the U.S. rocked consumer confidence and Beijing reined in auto financing channels.

However, Beijing's export data had been surprisingly resilient to tariffs for much of 2018, possibly because companies ramped up shipments before broader and stiffer USA duties went into effect.

But December's gloomy data seemed to suggest the USA front-loading effect has tapered off, and after several months of falling factory orders a further weakening in China's exports is widely expected in coming months.

China exports to the USA declined 3.5 per cent in December while its imports from the US were down 35.8 per cent for the month.

"Trade cooperation with Belt and Road countries has become new driving force of China's foreign trade development", said Li. For all of 2018, soybean, the second largest imports from the US, fell for the first time since 2011.

"With global growth set to cool further this year, exports will remain weak even if China can clinch a trade deal that rows back Trump's tariffs", said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics.

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