Published: Fri, July 12, 2019
Finance | By Loren Pratt

China imports from U.S. plunge in June amid tariff war

China imports from U.S. plunge in June amid tariff war

If Friday's trade data are in line with the downbeat forecasts or worse, it could spark concerns about a sharper-than-expected slowdown in China and the risk of a global recession.

Liang's complaint came a day after Trump accused Beijing of "letting us down" by not promptly buying more USA farm products.

China has started preparing to buy farm products, including gauging the prices of US soybeans, but will not purchase large amounts until it sees concrete progress in the negotiations, a person familiar with the matter said Friday.

For the first half of 2019, China's trade surplus with the US rose 5% to $140.48 billion, from $133.76 billion in the same period in 2018. In an interview with the Fox Business Network, Kudlow described the discussions as "preliminary" and said meetings will "probably" be arranged, but did not give more details.

Washington is pressing Beijing to roll back plans for government-led creation of Chinese global competitors in robotics, electric cars and other technologies.

Envoys talked by phone Tuesday in their first contact since Trump and Xi met last month in Japan, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said. Trump's tweet comes after reporting that the administration is increasingly concerned over the prospects for a trade deal with Beijing, amid a reshuffling of the Chinese negotiating team.

Trade weakness has added to pressure on Xi's government to shore up economic growth and avoid politically risky job losses.

The Trump-Xi truce calmed jittery financial markets.

China has rejected a US demand to increase agricultural purchases beyond the number Trump and Xi agreed to in Argentina a year ago, according to Wang Huiyao, an adviser to China's cabinet. In subsequent remarks, US officials said that China had reneged on commitments it made during previous rounds of negotiations. "Having said that, we have a very strong - I want to underscore this - a very strong expectation that China will really shortly, maybe immediately, begin to purchase U.S. agricultural products", he told the United States broadcaster. "Hopefully they will start soon", Trump said on Twitter.

Trump's statement "highlighted how more speed bumps may remain in the road ahead", said Craig Orlam of OANDA in a report.

Washington and Beijing have hit each other with punitive tariffs covering more than $360 billion in two-way trade, damaging manufacturers on both sides of the Pacific.

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