China reports biggest-ever annual trade surplus with the US

China reports biggest-ever annual trade surplus with the US

China reports biggest-ever annual trade surplus with the US
CHINA’s 2017 trade surplus with the US reached a record level at US$275.8 billion while its overall imbalance with the world shrank, potentially strengthening the Trump administration’s case for tougher penalties and other trade actions against Beijing.

A global recovery led by the US provided a shot in the arm for Chinese exporters last year, boosting China’s economy. Rising American demand helped push up Chinese shipments, expanding China’s trade surplus in goods with the US by 10 per cent to $275.8 billion in 2017, according to Chinese customs data.

China’s surplus with the US last year surpassed the previous record of $261 billion in 2015, according to Chinese data. US figures put the 2015 deficit with China at $367 billion, according to agency reports.

China’s overall foreign trade surplus contracted 17 per cent as higher prices of oil, iron ore and other commodities raised the value of inbound shipments from countries like Russia, Australia and Saudi Arabia. The world’s second-largest economy had a surplus of $25.6 billion in December, data showed, compared to $27.9 billion in November.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly signalled tougher action on what he calls unfair practices that have led to a massive trade deficit with China.

The widening of the China-US trade imbalance comes as US and Chinese officials and business groups warn of sharper clashes over trade between the world’s largest economies. “The risks of growing US-China trade conflicts are high.” said Zhang Ming, a senior economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think-tank in Beijing.

Meanwhile, China’s imports from North Korea fell 33 per cent in 2017, a possible indication of Beijing’s cooperation with the US and compliance with UN sanctions, though China’s exports to North Korea increased 8.3 per cent.