China's trade surplus with United States swells in June

Cornelia Mascio
Luglio 16, 2018

Here, a container ship is unloaded at the Port of Oakland in California last week after completing a voyage from China.

Meanwhile, China has filed an official complaint against new USA trade tariffs.

Europe cast itself as a peacemaker here Monday, with senior officials calling on the United States and China to mend their commercial relationship and avoid a trade war that could drag on for years.

European Council President Donald Tusk holds a joint press conference after signing a joint declaration on the NATO-EU cooperation, in Brussels, on July 10, 2018, on the eve of the NATO summit. The EU, China, Mexico and Turkey have similarly imposed retaliatory tariffs on American goods.

The comments from EU Council President Donald Tusk comes as the United States and China stand on the brink of an all-out trade war many fear could hammer the global economy, while the USA has also picked fights with allies in Europe and Canada. Trump has criticized the WTO as outdated and has gone outside the body to impose import controls, prompting warnings he was undermining the global system.

"There is still time to prevent conflict and chaos", he added. That was in response to complaints Beijing is hurting American companies by stealing or pressuring enterprises to hand over technology.

Nonetheless, European officials suggest that Trump, who has also targeted Europe with tariffs, has created a window of opportunity to show that EU-China relations can be a bulwark for global trade. In fact, the European Union broadly agrees with the USA criticism of China, but not with its use of punitive tariffs to force change, according to two people with knowledge of the 28-member bloc's approach to the summit.

Li, the premier, said China and the European Union agreed to take steps to "safeguard free trade" and the global multilateral regulatory system.

Li said China wanted to improve the authority of the WTO, but did not elaborate.

The European Union has called on the United States, China and Russian Federation to work together to cool worsening global trade tension, warning that they could spiral into violent "conflict and chaos". Beijing is trying to recruit support, so far in vain, from Europe, South Korea and other governments.

Both the United States and European Union urged China to open up its market and allow fair competition for its SOEs in their comments to China's seventh trade policy review by WTO.

As for why Beijing hasn't retaliated, "there might be some adjustment in China's approach to countermeasures", said Tu.

The EU and China announced plans June 25 to form a group to work on updating WTO rules.

-Chinese dispute was a bilateral matter for Beijing and Washington to solve.

Li has appealed to visiting European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel in May by saying their companies were welcome to invest.

Citing its investigation that began in August 2017, the Trade Representative's tariff notice said it concluded that China's actions and policies "are unreasonable or discriminatory and burden or restrict USA commerce". Beijing responded immediately by imposing identical penalties on a similar amount of American imports.

China's ambassador to the EU on Sunday wrote in Chinese state media that the focus of the annual China-EU leaders meeting would be on how the two sides could become a "standard of stability" amid the "din of unilateralism and protectionism".

"There will be challenges facing foreign trade with rising instabilities and uncertainties in the global environment, " said a Chinese customs agency report.

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