China-US Trade Surplus Up in 1st Quarter, Down in March

US President Donald Trump and China counterpart Xi Jinping. A clash between two strongmen leaders running the two biggest economies could lay waste to stability in markets everywhere

A Chinese couple died in a car crash. Four years later, their child was born.

Each side has slapped tariffs of US$3 billion in goods so far, but the United States has threatened to impose duties on more products and China has vowed to retaliate.

"China will always be a defender and contributor to multilateral trade systems", he said.

China has staged its largest naval drills ever in the South China Sea amid rising tensions with Taiwan over the disputed territory.

He was echoed by Alexander Salitsky of the Moscow-based Institute of World Economy and International Relations, who has remained upbeat about the future of the yuan, pointing to "China's permanent readiness to expand the corridor of the yuan's convertibility".

"When you're $500 billion down, you can't lose a trade war", he said.

According to United States media reports, President Trump made the move to "punish" the People's Republic of China for what he called the theft of American technology. "They are ready to pull the trigger", Salitsky pointed out.

Speaking in Tokyo on Friday, he said nobody wins in a high-level trade war.

Friction has escalated as Trump threatened tariffs on some $150 billion of imports from China, and Beijing announced potential retaliation on U.S. goods, including soybeans and airliners.

China's exports to the U.S. rose 14.8 per cent in the first quarter from a year earlier, while imports rose 8.9 per cent.

That helped narrow its surplus with the March alone to $15.43 billion from $20.96 billion in February, but that was still almost 18 percent higher than March 2017.

Forecasters have been expecting Chinese economic growth to weaken since late previous year after regulators tightened controls to cool a boom in bank lending and real estate sales they worry is driving a unsafe rise in debt.

Clearly, US President Trump believes that his Administration's trade threats against China are working and now there is talk of plans to focus on new tariffs and possible blocks to Chinese tech investment in the US.

China's President Xi Jinping is seen in this photo from April 10, 2018.

Tsai said "we are very confident of our military" when asked to comment on Beijing's planned live-fire drill in the Taiwan Strait next week. Indeed, the latest soundbites from Beijing will probably send the White House into fits of exasperation after China's trade figures were announced. China exported US$137.8 billion worth of high-tech products in the first quarter, up 20.5 per cent on-year.

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