China-US trade up 5.6% in July despite dispute, but experts caution imbalance

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/8 14:33:39

Despite ongoing tensions, trade between China and the US is increasing, but it's now the latter's turn to further reduce a trade imbalance between the two countries, experts said.

According to data released by General Administration of Customs on Wednesday, the China-US trade volume grew by 5.2 percent from January to July, reaching 2.29 trillion yuan ($335.6 billion), accounting for 13.7 percent of China's total trade volume. In July, the volume showed a year-on-year increase of 5.6 percent, slightly lower than the 5.7 percent increase in June.

"The data shows that the two countries heavily rely on each other in terms of trade. Traders from both countries are trying to 'grab' orders before the situation gets worse, thus showing a growing momentum as usual," Bai Ming, a research fellow with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Bai noted that the impact will gradually emerge in the second half of the year, depending on whether the two can reach a consensus to ease the ongoing and escalating tit-for-tat trade war.

Sang Baichuan, director of the Institute of International Business under the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, told the Global Times that the other reason behind the growing trade number is also due to the fact that most orders in the first half of the year had already been settled last year.

"China has been realizing its promise of expanding imports from countries all around the world, including the US, to narrow a trade surplus, but the US has continuously prevented China from importing high-tech products," Sang said.

"Balanced trade relations can never be achieved by one country alone, if the US can ease its restrictions on its high-tech products, of which China predominantly imports from the country, the trade surplus would surely be reduced a lot," Sang added.

Customs data also showed that in the first seven months of 2018, China's trade surplus with the US expanded 6.4 percent to 1.04 trillion yuan, though China's trade surplus narrowed 30.6 percent year-on-year.

In the meantime, China's natural gas and crude oil imports have also increased, up by 34.3 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively. "The increase mainly comes from the US and Middle Eastern countries, showing China's move of diversifying its imports sources in commodities," Bai said.


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