China's trade grows in June amid tensions with Washington

A worker sorting canned peaches for export at a factory in Xiayi in China's central Henan province

A worker sorting canned peaches for export at a factory in Xiayi in China's central Henan province

Trump has railed against China's trade surplus with the U.S., which ran at $375 billion in 2017, and has demanded Beijing cut it. Washington has warned it may ultimately impose tariffs on more than $500 billion worth of Chinese goods - roughly the total amount of USA imports from China past year.

The figures come after the two sides exchanged tit for tat tariffs on billions of dollars worth of goods and Donald Trump threatened to up the ante with measures on a colossal $200 billion of Chinese imports.

As the US-China trade war escalates, the latest trade numbers appear to back Washington's biggest gripe with Beijing.

China's exports unexpectedly accelerated in June and its trade surplus with the United States hit a record high in a positive sign for the economy, though the overall result looks set to keep a bitter trade dispute with Washington on the boil for a while longer.

Statistics showed that in the first six months of the year, China's exports to the United States rose 13.6 percent from a year earlier, while imports from the U.S. increased by 11.8 percent.

"Still, we do not expect a plunge because those tariffs only targeted $34 billion worth of goods which is fairly small compared to China's total trade", she said. "Trade wars are not easy to win", he said.

"Looking ahead, export growth will cool in the coming months as USA tariffs start to bite alongside a broader softening in global demand", Julian Evans-Pritchard, Senior China Economist at Capital Economics in Singapore wrote in a note, though he noted a weaker yuan should help offset some of the decline. China also said both its imports and exports with the United States rose in the first half of 2018.

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However, a lower yuan would make it more expensive for China to import USA goods.

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.

Investors fear a prolonged trade battle with the United States could harm business confidence and investment, disrupting global supply chains and harming growth in China and the rest of the world.

Exports rose 11.3 per cent over a year earlier to $216.7 billion, down from May's 12.6 per cent growth, customs data showed Friday.

Earlier this week Donald Trump proposed a 10% tariff on $200bn of Chinese goods entering the U.S., saying that tariffs already in place on steel and aluminium imports and $34bn of goods had failed to force significant reforms by Beijing.

But, he said, China has another option - Beijing could reduce the impact of United States tariffs on exporters by devaluing the yuan to make its goods cheaper for American consumers.

But in a statement from its commerce ministry, China blamed those problems on the United States, saying the imbalance was "overestimated" and caused by America's own "domestic structural problems".

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