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14 July 2018, 12:01 | Kelvin Horton
China trade surplus with US widens unexpectedly
This prompted Beijing to accuse Washington of launching the "largest trade war" in economic history, while immediately matching the U.S. tariffs dollar for dollar.
China's monthly trade surplus with the USA hit a record high of almost $29bn (£22bn) in June as exports to America remained strong.
Trump, who has demanded Beijing cut the trade surplus, could use the latest result to further ratchet up pressure on China after both sides last week imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on $34 billion of each other's goods.
In the first half of the year, Chinese exports to the US increased 13.6 percent as compared to the same period in 2017, while imports from the USA only rose 11.8 percent.
Last Friday, Trump rolled out 25% tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods.
"Looking ahead, export growth will cool in the coming months as USA tariffs start to bite alongside a broader softening in global demand", Capital Economics analyst Julian Evans-Pritchard said in a statement.
For January-June China's trade surplus with the United States rose to $133.76 billion, compared with about $117.51 billion in the same period a year ago.
China's trade imbalance is at the heart of US President Donald Trump's anger at what he describes as Beijing's unfair trade practices that are hurting American companies and destroying jobs.
Amy Zhuang has warned that there could be knock-on effects if the U.S. proceeds with its proposal for a new round of tariffs on $200bn of Chinese goods. "Not only will Chinese exporters suffer but American consumers as well", she said.
"Targeting such a large amount of basic consumers will inevitably have an effect on United States inflation".
China's commerce ministry confirmed last month that Chinese exporters were front-loading exports to the USA to get ahead of expected tariffs - a situation that could exacerbate any slowdown in shipments toward the year end.
David Kuo, chief executive of the Motley Fool Singapore, said "US tariffs will increase the cost of Chinese imports but they are unlikely to deter United States consumers entirely".
In yuan terms, China's exports grew 3.1% in June and imports rose 6.0%.
"So we would be back to square one", Mr Kuo said, with China exporting more to the U.S. than it buys from the country.
This added to brewing tensions between the economic superpowers as they stand on the brink of an all-out trade war that Beijing warned would have a "negative impact" globally.
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"The bill is focused [solely] on the sale of products from settlements and not on trade within the Green Line". It is estimated that the value of such imports to Ireland is up to €1 million a year.