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Chinas export growth steady in May

10 June 2018

Imports also rose more than anticipated in May and at the fastest pace since January, with the data coming at a time when China has pledged to its trade partners - including the United States - that steps would be taken to increase imports.

China's global trade gap narrowed by 39 percent to $24.9 billion. President Donald Trump cites the USA trade deficit with China as a key justification for his protectionist policies that have led to a raft of new tariffs against not just China but key strategic allies including Canada and the EU.

U.S. data show the goods trade deficit with China rose to a record US$375 billion previous year.

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Shortly after the end of the exemption, the European Union initiated a dispute with the United States at the WTO, and announced Wednesday the start of applying rebalancing duties on US products in July, as part of the "three-pronged response".

That was still above the 10% increase that had been expected by economists, providing another indicator of the improvement seen in the global economy over the past year.

China does not want an escalation of trade friction with the United States, said ministry spokesman Gao Feng.

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The Chinese Commerce Ministry said Thursday that the country did not want an escalation of trade tensions with the USA, pointing to "some specific progress" that was made in the most recent round of talks between the two nations. Our second chart shows the combined value of that trade in terms of USA dollars for each month over the past 10 years, along with its trailing-twelve month average. Its imports from the United States rose 11.4 percent in May, far slower than the 20.3 percent growth shown in April.

The era of big trading blocs appears to be over as Trump's protectionist measures saw him first pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the early days of his presidency and now shake the foundation of the United States while making it all but impossible to replicate this model in the EU.

On March 22, 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States would impose some $60 billion in tariffs on goods imported by the U.S. from China as part of his administration's efforts to renegotiate trade agreements between the two nations. Between January and May, it hit $104.8 billion, while past year it was a record $375.2 billion.

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But analysts say it would be a tall order for China to cut its trade surplus by $200 billion a year as the White House is demanding.

Chinas export growth steady in May