Is Trump Serious About Trade War? China's Leaders Hunt for Answers

Is Trump Serious About Trade War? China's Leaders Hunt for Answers

Against the backdrop of recent tensions, customs bureau spokesman Huang Songping repeated China's line that it is not looking for an advantage over its trading partners.

The speech at the Boao Forum for Asia in the southern province of Hainan had been widely anticipated as one of Xi's first major addresses in a year in which the ruling Communist Party marks the 40th anniversary of its landmark economic reforms and opening up under former leader Deng Xiaoping.

Sales of new energy vehicles, mainly comprising electric and hybrid vehicles, jumped by over 117% year on year to 68,000 units last month. If Trump cuts off the firehose of revenue from cheap goods, products that are dumped on the US market, the ChiComs are done.

Xi's renewed pledges to open up the auto sector come after Trump on Monday criticised China on Twitter for maintaining 25 percent auto import tariffs compared to the United States' 2.5 percent duties, calling such a relationship with China not free trade but "stupid trade".

But analysts said the trade threats may already be having an impact on exporters' activity.

"The sharp decline in March export growth after very solid performance in January and February suggests some exporters may have front-loaded exports (early) this year due to concern over the possibility of a Sino-US trade war after the US hiked tariffs on global imports on solar panels and washing machines", said Lisheng Wang, an economist at Nomura in Hong Kong.

Honda's sales fell by 13% to 97,587 units in March with the brand hindered by engine problems which forced it to temporarily suspend sales of CRV and Civic models produced at its Dongfeng Honda Automobile joint venture last month.

Trump is right. We have a half-trillion dollar trade deficit with China.

The 25 percent increase would turn Cixin's profits to losses in the USA market, which takes 30 percent of its exports, according to Wang Liqiang, a company manager.

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China registered a rare deficit of $4.98 billion with the rest of the world last month owing to seasonal factors such as the Lunar New Year holiday.

"As the world's second largest economy, China played a crucial role in lowering the risks from world economic volatility with its stable growth", the NBS said. Trump's vow to slap higher tariffs on some Chinese goods in retaliation for unfair trade practices by that country seems to have paid off.

Imports of commodities continued to lead the way in March, with shipments of copper, crude oil, iron ore and soybeans all rising from the previous month.

China's exports rode a global trade boom a year ago, expanding at the fastest pace since 2013 and serving as one of the key drivers behind the economy's forecast-beating 6.9 percent expansion.

China's tech sector, which is key part of Beijing's longer-term "Made in China 2025" strategy to move from cheap goods to higher-value manufacturing, may be particularly vulnerable.

State broadcaster China Central Television showed footage of Xi boarding the destroyer Changsha and navigating to an unspecified location in the South China Sea and reviewing the naval maneuver.

"Chinese experts do not understand the current state of the United States", said Jie Zhao, a professor at the China Executive Leadership Academy Pudong, which trains senior civil servants in Shanghai.

Hi-tech products have been among its fastest growing export segments.

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