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Trump says China trade talks 'going very well'

08 December 2018

However, China's exports to Europe rose only 6 per cent year on year, sliding from 14 per cent in October, while South Korean imports of Chinese goods fell by 3.6 per cent compared with the same period of last year.

Imports grew 3 per cent, widening China's trade surplus to US$44.7 billion from US$34 billion.

As U.S. businesses import more products from overseas, they are subject to higher taxes on those imports, thanks to the new tariffs imposed by the Trump administration.

China's government said Thursday it will promptly carry out a tariff cease-fire with Washington and is confident they can reach a trade agreement, suggesting Beijing wants to avoid disruptions due to the arrest of a tech executive.

However, the pace of export growth to the USA slowed from 13 per cent in October, which suggested that the impact of front-loading was fading as many American buyers had stockpiled goods well in advance. From August to October, the number increased by 30 percent.

Talks during the 90 day period during which President Donald Trump has agreed to suspend USA tariff hikes will start by focusing on farm goods, energy and automobiles, said a Ministry of Commerce spokesman, Gao Feng.

In particular, imports of soybeans plunged by 38 per cent, while iron ore, coal and steel imports also fell.

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Last week, as part of the trade war truce, Trump agreed to hold off on plans to raise tariffs on United States dollars 200 billion in Chinese imports to 25 per cent beginning January 1, leaving them at the current 10 per cent rate.

The new export order component in China's official purchasing managers' index had been contracting since June and barely picked up in November.

"China talks are going very well", Trump said on Twitter, without providing any details. The October surplus was US$31.78 billion.

Economists say one factor helping keep up Chinese exports this year is that the yuan has weakened more than 5 per cent against the dollar, helping to make Chinese products more competitive overseas.

The U.S. global trade deficit in goods and services increased to $55.5 billion in October from $54.6 billion in September, according to Census Bureau data.

Economists in recent months have penciled in a deterioration in China's export outlook in 2019, factoring in higher USA tariffs on a wider range of Chinese goods.

China's central bank has cut the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves four times this year, as policymakers seek to steady the slowing economy amid the trade war with the United States.

Trump says China trade talks 'going very well'