Spike in China’s trade surplus with US
BEIJING China’s trade surplus with the US, which is at the centre of their tariff tussle, widened to a record monthly high of US$28.97 billion (S$39.6 billion) last month, up from US$24.58 billion in May,and the highest in any month since 1999.
Exports climbed to US$42.62 billion, also a high, the Customs administration said yesterday.
But the Commerce Ministry confirmed that Chinese exporters were front-loading shipments to the US to get ahead of expected tariffs. This suggests the spike in the surplus was a one-off, with analysts expecting a less favourable trade balance for China in coming months as duties on exports start to bite.
The US imposed 25 per cent tariffs on US$34 billion of Chinese goods on July 6, and announced this week a plan to add 10 per cent tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods, including furniture, handbags, pet food, refrigerators, textiles and auto parts. Committee hearing on tariffs on Thursday, senators said they could not understand the administration’s trade strategy or how it plans to obtain improved trading terms with other countries.
“It is pretty apparent we don’t have a stated plan from a marketing or business standpoint,” said Senator Johnny Isakson.
“We are going to be in a terrible situation because we don’t have a plan.”
Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the committee, said tariffs imposed on steel and aluminium on national security grounds are disrupting supply chains and hurting businesses.