United States - China' trade talks suffered a major setback last week - Photo: Special

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – China’ trade with the United States (US) is falling sharply with no sign of progress toward ending a worsening tariff war. Chinese exporters also face pressure from weakening global consumer demand at a time when Beijing is telling them to find other markets to replace its major market.

Based on the customs data released on Sunday (09/08), imports of American goods fell 22.5 percent in August compared to last year to US$10.3 billion and export also drops 16 percent to $44.4 billion from prior year. The trade surplus with its competitor narrowed to $31.3 billion in August from $27 billion a year earlier.

US and China’ tariff hikes on billions of dollars of each other’ imports have disrupted trade in goods from soybeans to medical equipment and battered traders on both sides. China’ global exports fell 3 percent to $214.8 billion, while imports were up 1.7 percent at $180 billion.

For the first eight months of 2019, exports were off 1 percent from a year earlier and imports were down 5.6 percent. But, China’ global trade surplus rose 25 percent from a year earlier to $34.8 billion. Exports to the European Union rose 3 percent from a year earlier to $38.3 billion.

Latest reports said, US and Chinese negotiators are preparing for talks in October, later than initially planned. Beijing says Trump’ punitive tariffs must be lifted once an agreement takes effect while Washington says some must stay to ensure Beijing carries out any promises it makes.

In their latest escalation, Washington imposed 15 percent tariffs on $112 billion of Chinese imports and plans to hit another $160 billion on Dec. 15. That would extend penalties to almost everything the United States buys from China. US tariffs of 25 percent imposed previously on $250 billion of Chinese goods are set to rise to 30 percent on Oct. 1.

Beijing responded by imposing duties of 10 percent and 5 percent on a range of American imports. More increases are due on Dec. 15 in line with the US penalties. China has imposed or announced penalties on an estimated $120 billion of US imports.

Some have been hit with increases more than once, while about $50 billion of US goods is unaffected, possibly to avoid disrupting Chinese industries. Beijing also has retaliated by canceling purchases of soybeans, the biggest single US export to China.

The Chinese government has agreed to narrow its trade surplus with the US but is reluctant to give up development strategies it sees as a path to prosperity and global influence.

Beijing is predicted holding out in hopes Trump will feel pressure to make a more favorable deal as his campaign for the 2020 presidential election picks up. Trump has warned that if he is re-elected, China will face a tougher US negotiating stance.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com