Fresh figures from Beijing have shown that China's closely watched trade surplus with the United States eased in July. But the headline numbers are unlikely to soften the US administration's stance on the Asian country.
Beijing on Wednesday reported a $28.1 billion (€24.2 billion) trade surplus with the US for July, down from the record $28.9 billion logged in the previous month.
China's gaping surplus with the US has been a constant bone of contention, with the Trump administration accusing the Asian nation of unfair practices, stealing American jobs and technological know-how.
The fresh headline numbers are the first readings of the overall trade picture for the world's second-largest economy since US duties on $34 billion of Chinese imports came into effect on July 6.
The move had been widely expected, and with China lining up retaliatory measures it reinforced worries that the two nations were heading for an all-out trade war that could hammer the global economy.
Easy to win, really?
The US president had boasted that trade wars were easy to win and warned he could hit virtually all Chinese imports, if Beijing did not back down and take steps to reduce its $335 billion deficit with the United States.
The US imports far more from China than the other way around, meaning Beijing will at some point have to look for alternative means of retaliation, instead of slapping higher tariffs on US imports.
Oxford Economics said Wednesday the US-China trade conflict would cut the global gross domestic product by 0.7 percent by 2020.
The July figures revealed that China's global trade surplus fell even more, from $41.5 billion in June to $28 billion last month.
hg/jd (Reuters, AFP)