China's trade surplus widens in June as imports drop

China's trade surplus widens in June as imports drop

Analysts also pointed out that Chinese export growth slowed to 11.3% year on year in June, from 12.2% in May, illustrating that exporters, faced with the threat of further trade barriers, were becoming more circumspect in sending goods overseas.

The United States and China could reopen talks on trade but only if Beijing is willing to make significant changes, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday.

But in a statement from its commerce ministry, China blamed those problems on the United States, saying the imbalance was "overestimated" and caused by America's own "domestic structural problems".

Washington has warned it may ultimately impose tariffs on more than $500bn worth of Chinese goods - almost the total amount of USA imports from China past year.

But signs exporters were rushing shipments before tariffs went into effect in the first week of July suggest the spike in the surplus was a one-off, with analysts expecting a less favorable trade balance for China in coming months as duties on exports start to bite.

Exports rose 11.3 per cent over a year earlier to $216.7 billion, down from May's 12.6 per cent growth, customs data showed Friday.

"We are monitoring very carefully the impact of tariffs and we will continue to do so", he said.

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China's Commerce Ministry said that Beijing had no choice but to fight back after the USA "launched the largest trade war in economic history", accusing Washington of violating the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Imports grew 14.1 percent in June, customs said, missing analysts' forecast of a 20.8 percent growth, and compared with a 26 percent rise in May.

In a sign Beijing is seeking alternative supplies of the commodities as it hit U.S. imports with extra tariffs, China had dropped import tariffs on a range of animal feed ingredients from several Asian countries.

Speaking after a regular two-yearly review of China's trade policies at the World Trade Organization (WTO), Wang was sceptical.

The surplus was the highest ever with the U.S. for any single month, according to Reuters calculations based on official data going back to 2008.

Others say the latest data shows how hard it will be for the U.S. to win the trade war, arguing that Americans want to buy Chinese-made products.

The United States, Canada and Mexico have been negotiating to revamp the 24-year-old trade pact since last August, but talks have stalled over US demands on autos and other issues. The surplus was China's highest since December.

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