Positive import growth from the US indicates China’s confidence to fulfill phase one trade deal: experts
Published: Mar 07, 2020 08:43 PM

Soybeans are loaded into a grain cart during harvest in the US state of Illinois in 2018. Photo: VCG

China's imports from the US continue to maintain a positive streak with a 2.5 percent growth in the first two months this year, despite the impact of the coronavirus, customs data showed Saturday.

Experts believe the growth is an indication of China's confidence to fulfill the trade pact with the US, but urge the US to cut any remaining additional tariffs imposed on Chinese goods to minimalize the coronavirus risks on the economy. 

China's total imports from the US in January and February accounted for $17.6 billion, while China's imports with all trading members dropped four percent to $299.5 billion as a result of the coronavirus assault. 

Bai Ming, deputy director of the Ministry of Commerce's International Market Research Institute told the Global Times the surge in imports from the US signifies China is working to increase its purchase of the US goods and services, especially the agricultural products. 

In late February, China lifted an import ban on US beef, giving the US farmers much broader access to China's rising market, which experts believe will significantly boost US beef exports. 

Medical supplies purchases, including face masks and hazmat suits amid the coronavirus spread, might also have driven the import from the US, Tian Yun, vice-director of the Beijing Economic Operation Association told the Global Times. 

"The US is the leading producer of high-end medical equipment, and China's import of some key suppliers might have surged as demand increased during the coronavirus outbreak," Tian said. 

Despite strong import figures, China's export to the US sags in the first two months of this year, dropping 27.7 percent year-on-year, higher than the 17.2 percent decrease in China's total export. 

Tian noted that the plunge in exports to the US is largely due to the halted factory activities in China, which have triggered a delay in international orders.

However, as over 300 coronavirus cases have been reported in the US, its trade officials have granted tariff relief for face masks and medical equipment. 

"The relaxation of tariff on medical supplies might give a slight increase in the short term of China's export," Bai said, "but to stabilize trade relations during a time of the epidemic crisis, the US should also cut the additional tariff imposed during the trade war to minimize impact on global trade."

Global Times