China's global trade surplus fell 16.2 pct in 2018: customs

By AFP   January 14, 2019 | 10:03 am GMT+7
China's global trade surplus fell 16.2 pct in 2018: customs
Cars to be exported are seen at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China May 31, 2018. Photo by Reuters/Stringer

China's global trade volume rose last year but its surplus fell again, as its imports outpaced its exports, official data released Monday showed.

Total trade reached $4.62 trillion, a 12.6 percent rise from 2017, according to customs data.

But the trade surplus in the world's second largest economy fell 16.2 percent to $351.76 billion, as imports rose 15.8 percent while exports gained 9.9 percent.

"China's foreign trade has developed in a steady manner with progress witnessed, reaching a record high in import and export volume," said Li Kuiwen, spokesman for the customs administration.

China's surplus with the U.S. is a hot-button issue with the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, which slapped new import tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods last year.

Customs has not yet released information on U.S.-China bilateral trade, but China's imports of soybeans fell by 7.9 percent last year to 88 million tons.

Traditionally China imports vast quantities of American soybeans in the second half of the year -- but the buying fell off after China hit U.S. soybeans with a 25 percent retaliatory import tariff this summer.

 
 
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