China's March trade weakens, surplus with United States at $15.4B

17 April, 2018, 17:04 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Chinese ambassador warns US not to drag Latam into trade dispute

Unlike a year ago, when US President Donald Trump sounded protectionist warnings that were largely dismissed as bluster, Chau and other factory bosses across China say the risks from this trade spat are now far more tangible.

The city of Dongguan is one of the main export hubs in southern China's Pearl River Delta.

The Commerce Ministry announcement Friday made no mention of jetliners, soybeans or other products that are the biggest USA exports to China by value.

At the 5th India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue in Beijing, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajeev Kumar said that Beijing and New Delhi were unruffled by the "protectionist noises" and could well be the important anchor for the world economy.

Trump is demanding that Beijing take steps to narrow its trade deficit with the US, which Washington says stood at a record $375.2 billion previous year.

President John Heisdorffer today provided testimony before the House Committee on Ways and Means on the potential impact of Chinese tariffs on USA soybeans.

With the threat of tariffs hanging over almost a third of China's exports to the United States, economists at Nomura say its companies may have front-loaded shipments early this year before any measures kick in.

But at a more micro level, at the heart of China's vast industrial supply chains, the tariffs stand to exacerbate the pain of already struggling plants. "Like the USA, it's becoming more driven by domestic demand every year".

Chinese exporters supply most of the world's mobile phones, personal computers, televisions, toys and other light manufactured goods.

"We put a $50 billion tariff on, and then we put $100 billion tariff on".

In interviews with six other Chinese manufacturers of LED lighting products - another affected sector - four expect some closures of Chinese factories, particularly those making more generic products like bulbs and LED panels.

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Dongguan's economic growth of 8.1 per cent past year while robust, does not fully reflect its long struggle to upgrade rusting factories and catch up with the likes of neighbouring technology powerhouse Shenzhen. "We ask this Committee and Members of Congress to help allow soybean farmers be part of the solution instead of collateral damage from a potential trade war", concluded Heisdorffer.

"The customer will have to pay 30 to 35 per cent more". With the future in mind, we need to treat each other with respect and as equals, follow a new approach to state-to-state relations featuring dialogue rather than confrontation, and partnership instead of alliance to work together for enduring peace. "We just have to go with the flow".

But Vice Commerce Minister Qian Keming said at the forum on Tuesday (10 April) that China's economic reforms were driven by domestic factors and not due to external pressures.

"The task of building a strong navy has never been as urgent as it is today", he said.

"So China is negotiating with us very hard, very long, and we've made a lot of progress for opening it up and for getting rid of those tariffs". If there is one thing the ChiComs are terrified of, it is social unrest.

Hi-tech products have been among its fastest growing export segments.

He said he will reduce tariffs on cars imported into his country.

The statistics bureau also will begin monthly release of a survey-based unemployment rate, the first regularly updated gauge for the world's biggest labor market that's similar to indexes for other major economies like the United States and Europe. Such a practice could technically be illegal.

Furthermore, the bilateral trade deficit with the United States in fact widened last month, reaching $15.4bn - its highest level in over a year.

Robert Manning, a US-China analyst at the Atlantic Council, calls Trump's view of global trade "nutty", but acknowledges that his tough talk may be working.

"'Now we're really negotiating and I think they're going to treat us really fairly", Trump said.

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