China imports from US plunge 31% in June amid tariff war

China imports from US plunge 31% in June amid tariff war

Beijing agreed past year to narrow its trade surplus with the United States by buying more American natural gas and other exports but scrapped that plan after one of Trump's tariff hikes.

Exports declined 1.3 per cent in June from a year earlier, while imports decreased 7.3 per cent, leaving the trade surplus of US$50.98 billion, the customs administration said Friday.

But Chinese official media said Trump hoped China would import more American goods as part of the trade-war truce. On Thursday Trump raised eyebrows with a tweet accusing China of not fulfilling a pledge to buy more agricultural goods, adding: "Hopefully they will start soon!"

May was the month of trade wars as hopes for a China-U.S. trade deal fell apart.

After trade talks with the U.S. broke down in May, President Donald Trump hiked duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Envoys talked by phone Tuesday in their first contact since Trump and Xi met in Japan, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said. Both sides will continue these talks as appropriate, the official said, without offering more details on the next steps.

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"Mexico is doing great at the Border, but China is letting us down in that they have not been buying the agricultural products from our great Farmers that they said they would". Analysts polled by Bloomberg News had forecast exports to dip 1.4 percent and imports to fall 4.6 percent.

China's stance so far suggests the purchase of agricultural products are part a larger deal under discussion, said He Weiwen, who previously served as a commercial attache at the Chinese consulates in NY and San Francisco and is now a senior research fellow at the Center for China and Globalization in Beijing.

Trump's statement "highlighted how more speed bumps may remain in the road ahead", said Craig Orlam of OANDA in a report.

China's slowing economy gives President Xi Jinping little room to fight back forcefully against the United States - which is using tariffs as leverage to try to force Beijing into opening up its economy. "While a deal makes sense for both sides this year, it's far from guaranteed and could hit many more snags".

China slapped a 25 per cent tariff on USA soybeans last July as part of a trade war between the world's two largest economies, bringing imports of United States beans to a halt until the two countries agreed to a truce on last December.

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