China’s trade surplus with US hits record high

China’s trade surplus with US hits record high

12/10/18

Indira Zahra-Aridati, Business and Policy Intern

China’s trade surplus with the US hit a record high of US$34.1 billion in September, surpassing the record of US$31.05 billion in August by 10 per cent, the South China Morning Post reports.

Released by China’s customs agency on Friday, the figures show increasing trade exports while imports have slowed amid strong demand for Chinese goods from Japan and Europe.

Reuters reports that the robust trade surplus numbers, despite the American imposition of tariffs on a range of Chinese goods, could prompt an angry reaction from President Donald Trump.  He has long argued that previous US administrations have allowed China to conduct unfair trade practices, pointing to the trade surplus as evidence of this, and has promised to use tariffs to end these allegedly-unfair practices. The fact that the surplus has grown could be politically uncomfortable for the White House. However, as the latest round of tit-for-tat tariffs came into effect only on 24 September, their impact is unlikely to be seen until later this year, or early next year.

The trade war does not appear to be nearing a resolution, with CNBC reporting that President Trump has threatened to impose further duties on China, accusing Beijing of meddling in the US congressional elections. The Wall Street Journal reports that both sides are moving towards a meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit in Argentina next month, although US National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow has said the prospects of talks have not “been set in concrete”.