China’s ex­ports to US tick up as traders try to beat tar­iffs

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - International Business -

GROWTH in Chi­nese ex­ports to the United States ticked up in Oc­to­ber as traders rushed to beat a new tar­iff hike in a bat­tle over Bei­jing’s tech­nol­ogy pol­icy.

Ship­ments to the U.S. mar­ket rose 13.3 per­cent over a year ear­lier to $42.7 bil­lion, up from Septem­ber’s 13 per­cent growth, cus­toms data showed Thurs­day. Im­ports of Amer­i­can goods rose 8.5 per­cent to $10.9 bil­lion, de­cel­er­at­ing from the pre­vi­ous month’s 9 per­cent.

China’s trade sur­plus with the United States nar­rowed to $31.8 bil­lion from Septem­ber’s record $34.1 bil­lion.

Traders are rush­ing to beat a U.S. tar­iff hike planned for Jan­uary, ING econ­o­mist Iris Pang said in a re­port. Pang said they are pes­simistic this month’s planned meet­ing be­tween Pres­i­dents Xi Jin­ping and Don­ald Trump in Ar­gentina will “yield pos­i­tive re­sults.”

“We ex­pect this front-load­ing be­hav­ior to con­tinue for the rest of 2018,” said Pang.

China’s ex­ports to the United States, its big­gest mar­ket, have been un­ex­pect­edly re­silient since Trump started im­pos­ing puni­tive tar­iffs goods in July in a fight over Bei­jing’s tech­nol­ogy pol­icy.

That in­cludes a 10 per­cent charge on $200 bil­lion of Chi­nese goods that is due to rise to 25 per­cent in Jan­uary. An­other $50 bil­lion of Chi­nese goods al­ready is sub­ject to 25 per­cent du­ties.

Bei­jing has re­sponded with tar­iff hikes on $110 bil­lion of Amer­i­can goods. Trump has threat­ened to ex­pand U.S. penal­ties to all goods from China.

China’s global ex­ports rose 12.6 per­cent to $217.3 bil­lion, down from Septem­ber’s 14.5 per­cent growth. Im­ports rose 20.3 per­cent to $183.3 bil­lion, ac­cel­er­at­ing from the pre­vi­ous month’s 14.3 per­cent. The global trade sur­plus was $34 bil­lion, up from Septem­ber’s $31.7 bil­lion.

“While ship­ments to the U.S. held up well, those to other parts of the world grew even faster, sug­gest­ing that global de­mand is more re­silient than ex­pected,” said Louis Kuijs of Ox­ford Eco­nom­ics in a re­port.

Un­ex­pect­edly strong im­ports con­trasted with other signs that China’s fac­tory out­put and other eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity is cool­ing.

Chi­nese lead­ers have cut tar­iffs on non-u.s. goods and promised to en­cour­age im­ports of con­sumer goods but re­ject pres­sure to roll back plans for state-led de­vel­op­ment of tech­nol­ogy in­dus­tries.

Wash­ing­ton, Europe and other trad­ing part­ners com­plain plans such as “Made in China 2025,” which calls for cre­at­ing Chi­nese global cham­pi­ons in robotics and other fields, vi­o­late Bei­jing’s mar­ket-open­ing obli­ga­tions.

Xi presided over the open­ing of an im­port fair Mon­day in Shang­hai that is meant to re­brand China as a wel­com­ing mar­ket for other coun­tries’ goods. Some 3,600 com­pa­nies from 152 coun­tries are tak­ing part in the five-day event.

The pres­i­dent promised to open Chi­nese mar­kets wider, to cut costs for im­porters and to in­crease con­sumer spend­ing power. But he gave no re­sponse to for­eign com­plaints about tech­nol­ogy pol­icy and in­vest­ment bar­ri­ers.

Bei­jing agreed in May to nar­row its trade gap with the United States by pur­chas­ing more Amer­i­can soy­beans, nat­u­ral gas and other ex­ports. Chi­nese lead­ers scrapped that deal af­ter Trump’s first tar­iff hikes hit.

Chi­nese com­pa­nies have been or­dered to stop buy­ing Amer­i­can soy­beans — the big­gest U.S. ex­port to China — and find other sup­pli­ers and ex­port mar­kets.

Amer­i­can de­mand for Chi­nese goods should weaken next year as tar­iff hikes bite, said ING’S Pang. She said ex­porters might try to sell more to Europe or other Asian economies, but those mar­kets also might be hurt by U.S. im­port con­trols.

“Strong ex­port growth may not last very long,” said Pang. “We are not par­tic­u­larly op­ti­mistic on China ex­port growth in 2019.” – AP

Con­tain­ers at the port of Qing­dao in eastern Shan­dong prov­ince. Photo: AP

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