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China Exports Surge In February Though Surplus With US Narrows

China Exports Surge In February Though Surplus With US Narrows

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday that China is ready to play a more active role in resolving pressing regional and global issues.

Trade tensions have jumped to the top of the list of risks facing China this year, with proposed US tariffs on steel and aluminium imports suggesting more measures may be on the way, Zhou Hao, senior emerging markets economist at Commerzbank, told the Reuters Global Markets Forum this week. Officials in China and European nations, whose industries would be hurt by the United States move, are warning this may not be the case. The protectionist measures have sparked fears of a trade war. He may be promoted as State Councillor at the on-going National People's Congress (NPC), China's parliamentary body, in Beijing, which is set to further enshrine President Xi Jinping's authority by approving an amendment to abolish presidential term-limits.

"The lessons of history show engaging in a trade war is never the right way to resolve problems", said foreign minister Wang.

"Especially given today's globalisation, choosing a trade war is a mistaken prescription". Business sources say this has led to the USA having all but frozen talks on commercial disputes with Beijing because it is not satisfied that China has fulfilled its pledge to ease market restrictions. "Policy makers will find it as hard as traders to make any sense of what the data say about trends, so the implications for policy are limited".

Exports to the United States account for 0.8 per cent of Australia's total steel and 1.5 per cent of our total aluminium exports according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. At the same time, exports of consumer goods rose to a record $17.9 billion, while shipments of automotive vehicles and parts were the highest since July 2014. But the tariffs may be the first foray in the brewing American trade war with Beijing. "Some people in the United States believe that China therefore wants to replace the role of the U.S.in the worldwide arena".

Boosted by a global trade boom, China's exports a year ago grew the fastest since 2013 and served as one of the key drivers behind the economy's forecast-beating 6.9 per cent expansion.

While economists say a growing trade deficit can be a sign of economic recovery, with strong consumer demand outstripping domestic supply, Trump has attributed them to "cheating" by United States trade partners which he claims has hollowed out U.S. industry. But Trump appears to have divided the world by pursuing the tariffs first.

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Trump is also considering potential trade sanctions against China under a "Section 301" investigation into its intellectual property practices and pressure on foreign companies for technology transfers.

'The U.S.is acting swiftly on Intellectual Property theft. And imports from the United States rose to a record high of $30.3 billion in the year to January.

"When the meteorological conditions were not favorable several days ago, we all felt the air quality turn bad again", said Mr Wang, referring to heavy smog in Beijing on Wednesday, when the capital issued a yellow alert, the third highest of a four-tier alert system.

Big picture: The high USA trade deficit is a big sticking point for President Trump, who's vowed to bring it down sharply. Once approved by Trump, the tariffs would go into effect after two months.

Moreover, according to a statement by Alicia García Herrero, chief economist for Asia of French investment bank Natixis, Trump's measures "point to wrong target" because steel and aluminum purchases account for only 3.5% of trade deficit with China.

But tension with the United States "is definitely a near-term concern and a near-term downside risk to China's trade outlook", she added.

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