China-US trade up 5.6% in July despite dispute

By Shen Weiduo Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/8 19:03:40

US urged to ease restrictions on high-tech product exports


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

According to data released by the 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), which accounts for 13.7 percent of China's total trade volume.

The July trade volume shows 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 sides 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 one factor behind the growing trade is 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 including the US, to narrow trade surplus, but the US has prevented China from importing high-tech products," Sang said.

In July, China's natural gas imports saw a year-on-year increase of 34.3 percent, reaching 7.38 million tons, and the imports volume of fresh and dried fruit and nuts also saw a jump of 21.5 percent, with "much of the increase coming from US imports," experts noted.

"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 markedly," 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 East countries, showing China's move of diversifying its imports sources in commodities," Bai said.

The biggest drops in China's July imports are wastes including waste plastics, waste paper and waste metal, down by as much as 54.4 percent compared with that of last year.



Posted in: ECONOMY

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