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China's trade surplus with USA rises

17 April 2018

While Beijing responded mildly to US President Donald Trump's early outreach to Taiwan's independence-leaning government, recent developments have prompted a tougher response.

Trump said higher duties on $50 billion of Chinese goods are meant to punish Beijing for stealing or pressuring foreign companies to hand over foreign technology. It urged Washington to negotiate a settlement but set no deadline.

The stand-off has intensified over the massive trade deficit with China, which was a record $375.2 billion in 2017.

Imports rose 14.4 per cent to $179.1 billion, though that was down from 21.7 per cent growth in January and February in a possible indication of slower Chinese demand.

Trump's signing of the Taiwan Travel Act, which has angered China, encourages visits between the USA and Taiwan "at all levels", specifically citing "Cabinet-level national security officials".

"We are considering moving our core market out of the U.S., said James Chou, the boss of Poly Dragon, who has run an LED factory in Dongguan for the past 17 years".

Tokyo's benchmark tumbled by an unusually large 5.1 percent while the Shanghai Composite Index closed down 3.4 percent.

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This week it also hosted a global business forum that included a smattering of world leaders, among them Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, whose country is a USA treaty ally and has overlapping claims with Beijing in the South China Sea.

- Entrepreneurs are becoming more optimistic about economic conditions in Q1 with the entrepreneur confidence index coming at 74.3 percent, the highest level since Q3 2011.

That came after Chinese President Xi Jinping last month delivered a strongly nationalistic speech in which he vowed to protect "every inch" of China's territory.

The plan targets goods United States officials say benefit from improper Chinese policies including machinery, industrial components and aerospace, telecoms and other technology.

The Beijing area is one of the world's most polluted. -China Business Council, which represents American companies that do business with China. They were among changes Trump had sought.

Economists and Chinese officials say the tariff hike's overall impact on China should be limited.

"We are considering manufacturing as many ball bearings as possible for the USA market before the imposition of tariffs", said Wang.

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Instead, the Trump administration wants Chinese leaders to address more basic structural issues that interfere with market forces, said the official. "We ask this Committee and Members of Congress to help allow soybean farmers be part of the solution instead of collateral damage from a potential trade war", concluded Heisdorffer.

The U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs also have irked Japan, America's closest ally in Asia. "We hope that the U.S. will listen patiently to rational and pragmatic voices on the trade balance issue".

China's trade surplus with the United States rose 19.4 per cent YoY in the first quarter to US$58.25 billion, showed data released by China's custom department.

Washington has lambasted Beijing over the man-made islands, which the US fears could be used to restrict free movement in the waterway that includes vital sea lanes through which about $3 trillion in global trade passes each year. It said USTR would pursue a World Trade Organization case against Beijing's "discriminatory technology licensing". "Citizens please feel at ease", the statement said.

China is unlikely to respond until Washington acts but might launch an investigation of imports of USA corn and soybeans "as a warning shot", said Parker.

He also expanded on proposals to increase imports, lower foreign-ownership limits on manufacturing and expand intellectual-property rights.

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China's trade surplus with USA rises