Trump, Xi to meet amid trade war tensions

Cornelia Mascio
Ottobre 12, 2018

Shipping containers are seen at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China September 8, 2018.

The volume of exports from China to Russian Federation has grown by nearly 13 percent, exceeding $35 billion.

The U.S. economy is strengthening, with unemployment low and growth increasing, while the Chinese economy is slowing, sapping Chinese consumers' ability to buy imported goods.

China's September exports rose a solid 14.5 percent from a year earlier, well above expectations despite wider application of US tariffs and signs of shrinking export orders for Chinese companies.

The U.S. has already begun a rhetorical offense against China, with Vice President Mike Pence accusing the state of expanding worldwide control via "debt diplomacy" and meddling in U.S. domestic affairs after the spying controversy came to light, for which a Chinese national was charged on October 11.

But China's trade surplus with the United States grew 10 percent in September from a record $31 billion in August, according to China's customs administration.

Beijing's export data has been surprisingly resilient to tariffs, possibly because companies ramped up shipments before broader and stiffer USA duties went into effect, raising concerns about a sharper drop in export strength once all tariffs kick in.

"It's had a big impact", Trump said in a Fox News interview.

Export numbers have been buoyed by producers rushing to fill orders before American tariffs rose, but they also benefit from "robust US demand" and a weaker Chinese currency, which makes their goods cheaper overseas, said Louis Kuijs of Oxford Economics in a report.

Along with electrical machinery, exports for textiles, furniture and chips all rose faster than in the previous month, the customs data showed.

The two countries already exchanged tariffs on $50 billion worth of each other's goods earlier this year.

Trump said the Chinese want to negotiate but he does not believe they are ready and he told them so.

Exports rose 14.5 percent over a year earlier to $226.7 billion, up from August's 12.2 percent growth.

That's significantly higher than the $196 billion recorded between January and September a year ago.

Growth in overall imports for September instead showed a moderate slowdown, in line with signs the broad cooling in domestic demand. Imports of Russian goods surged by around 40 percent to $42 billion, said the customs service.

Iron ore imports rose to their highest level in four months as steel mills ramped up output ahead of winter production restrictions.

Last month, trade turnover between the two countries was more than $9 billion.

To shore up growth, Beijing has pledged to increase export tax rebates from November 1 for the second time this year and promised to cut corporate burden on a larger scale to help struggling Chinese firms.

"It's obvious that the immediate effects of the trade war are the exact opposite of what the Trump administration had been planning", said Andrew Polk of Trivium China, a Beijing-based economics research firm.

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