China's June exports jump, surplus with United States at record high

A worker sorting canned peaches for export at a factory in Xiayi in China's central Henan province

China's trade imbalance is at the heart of US President Donald Trump's anger at what he describes as Beijing's unfair trade practices that are hurting American companies and destroying jobs. "They are just a trade bully", he told reporters in Geneva.

China's commerce ministry confirmed last month that Chinese exporters were front-loading exports to the U.S. to get ahead of expected tariffs - a situation that could exacerbate any slowdown in shipments toward the year end.

"Those talks produced progress, so much so that the U.S. government said they would put the trade war on hold, but all of a sudden an announcement was made to impose tariffs on imports from China".

The Trump administration announced a possible second round of tariff hikes this week targeting a $200 billion list of thousands of Chinese products.

China's exports rose 11.3% in June from a year earlier, compared with a 12.6% increase in May, customs data showed.

"This trade dispute will definitely have an impact on China-US trade and will have a very negative impact on global trade", a Chinese customs administration spokesman said today.

This week, Washington threatened to impose 10% tariffs on another $200bn of Chinese imports.

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Washington added 25 per cent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods on July 6 in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. So far, encouraged by strong job growth and expectations of good quarterly earnings reports, U.S. markets have been strong and the Australian market has reached a 10-year record high.

South Korea, Asia's fourth-largest economy, warned on Thursday that components and materials used in home appliances, computers and communications devices could be caught in the crossfire of the trade war.

Imports grew 14.1 percent in June, customs said, missing analysts' forecast of a 20.8 percent growth, and compared with a 26 percent rise in May.

But in a statement from its commerce ministry, China blamed those problems on the USA, saying the imbalance was "overestimated" and caused by America's own "domestic structural problems".

The data could renew longstanding criticism from the United States and Europe that the world's top metal producer is selling its surplus product overseas, hurting foreign rivals.

"Still, we do not expect a plunge because those tariffs only targeted $34bn worth of goods which is fairly small compared to China's total trade", she said.

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