China’s trade surplus with US eases as Trump visits

China’s trade surplus with US eases as Trump visits

BEIJING - Agence France-Presse
China’s trade surplus with US eases as Trump visits

China’s trade surplus with the United States eased slightly in October but still remains elevated, official data showed Nov. 8, as U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Beijing for what are expected to be thorny economic talks.

Trump is expected to seek ways to reduce the huge U.S. trade deficit in his discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his first, three-day state visit to Beijing.    

As Trump toured the Forbidden City, his commerce secretary Wilbur Ross joined his Chinese counterpart Wang Yang in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People to oversee the signing of $9 billion of deals for everything from Montana beef to water purification equipment.    

“Addressing the imbalance in China trade has been the central focus of collaborative discussions between President Trump and President Xi,” Ross said, while Wang described the event as a “warmup” before an even larger signing ceremony Thursday.

The two leaders are expected to oversee the conclusion of around $20 billion of agreements, including major deals to export natural gas and soybeans.

While the numbers are big, the multi-year deals are a drop in the bucket of the overall trade imbalance.

China’s trade surplus with the United States has ballooned in recent months as optimistic Americans splurge on China-made products.     

The balance in trade again tilted heavily in China’s favor in October, hitting $26.6 billion, up 10 percent on-year, according to customs data.

And while it was down from September’s $28.2 billion, that figure marked the highest monthly surplus in at least three years. Bloomberg News said the figures mean China’s surplus with the U.S. could come in around the same as last year’s $250 billion.

Trump repeatedly railed against China’s trade surplus during the 2016 presidential election but his belligerence on the issue has been tempered since taking office.