China's trade surplus with the United States grew in 2018 but tariffs bite

At the same time, China's imports from Russian Federation grew by 42.7 percent, reaching $59.08 billion. Import growth declined to 12.9 per cent from the previous year's 15.9 percent.

China's exports rose 9.9 percent in 2018, its strongest trade performance in seven years, despite growing disruptions from an escalating trade war with the United States, customs data showed on Monday.

That compared with about $275.81 billion in 2017.

However, the data show December exports to US contracted 3.5 percent compared with year ago as Trump tariff hikes hit.

Traditionally China imports vast quantities of American soybeans in the second half of the year, long making it the most valuable import from the US.

The customs administration will work to "improve the country's business environment and expand foreign trade.in order to keep employment, the financial sector, foreign trade, foreign investment" stable, Li said.

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The Customs office is expected to release trade numbers for December later in the day. China's surplus is the U.S.'s trade deficit.

Renewed fears over the strength of the global economy piled pressure on stock markets and commodity prices this morning after China revealed a sharp drop in exports.

In 2018, the USA imposed billions of dollars worth of tariffs on Chinese products, prompting retaliation from Beijing and a trade war that analysts fear could escalate further and damage the global economy.

The country's global trade surplus was $352 billion.

Official data also showed the manufacturing sector contracted in December for the first time in more than two years.

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