With the deficit showing no signs of reducing, trade tensions between the U.S. and China are unlikely to dissipate any time soon.
Customs data on Friday show imports rose 26 percent from a year ago to $187.9 billion, up from April's 21.5 percent growth. Our second chart shows the combined value of that trade in terms of US dollars for each month over the past 10 years, along with its trailing-twelve month average.
Analysts polled by Reuters had expected May shipments from the world's largest exporter to have risen 10.0 percent on year, compared with a revised 12.7 percent gain in April. It is willing to increase imports from other countries, including the United States, to meet the people's ever-growing needs for a better life and the requirements of high-quality economic development, said Gao.
The era of big trading blocs appears to be over as Trump's protectionist measures saw him first pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the early days of his presidency and now shake the foundation of the United States while making it all but impossible to replicate this model in the EU.
For January-May, the surplus stood at US$104.85 billion, compared with about US$92.9 billion in the same period previous year.
US President Donald Trump had threatened tariffs on up to $150 billion of Chinese exports as part of a separate dispute over intellectual property protection in China. A final list of goods in the first wave of tariffs is expected to be released by the U.S. administration next week, and the Treasury Department plans to limit Chinese investment in the US.
So far, China's customs hasn't released final April commodities trade statistics which had been due on May 23, and some traders have speculated that Beijing may want to hide statistics that could somehow undermine its negotiating stance.
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