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China-US trade surges 2% in first three quarters

2020/10/15 10:08:17   source:Global Times

China's trade with the US surged by 2 percent in renminbi terms in the first three quarters this year, according to Chinese customs data, which experts said could reflect a turnaround in the China-US trade situation and that rationality is getting the upper hand in the US government in terms of policies toward China.

In the first nine months this year, China's trade with the US rose to 2.82 trillion yuan ($419 billion), said Li Kuiwen, a spokesperson for the Chinese customs, during a press conference on Tuesday. During the period, exports to the US rose by 1.8 percent to 2.18 trillion yuan, while imports rose by 2.8 percent to 640.8 billion yuan.

In US dollar terms, China's trade with the US fell by 0.6 percent on a yearly basis in the first nine months this year, narrowing from a 3.5 percent drop in the first eight months, customs data showed.

"In general, China's trade with the US has been improving continuously this year, which is largely due to an increase in demand for certain made-in-China products during the pandemic period, such as laptops because of remote education," Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

According to Li, China's exports of mechanical and electrical products to the US rose by 1.4 percent to 1.31 trillion yuan in the first three quarters, accounting for 60 percent of China's overall exports to the US. Among those products, exports of laptop computers rose by 14.4 percent, while exports of mobile phones fell by 3.4 percent. In particular, exports of medical appliances and medicines rose by 32.4 percent year-on-year to 20.1 billion yuan.

Imports from the US have also been rising in recent months, as China has mounted efforts to speed up buying from the US to implement phase one of the trade deal, Gao said.

In the first three quarters this year, China imported agricultural products worth 91.3 billion yuan from the US, up by 44.4 percent year-on-year.

The warming China-US trade situation is also a signal for changes in the two countries' economic relations, which has nosedived because of the trade war and the Trump administration's hostile policies toward China.

"The rebounding trade could mean that economic ties between China and the US are closer despite cooling political relations, and that rationality is getting the upper hand in the US government in terms of policies toward China," Tian Yun, vice director of the Beijing Economic Operation Association, told the Global Times.

Gao also said that although the tariff hikes have hit China-US trade, the influence of the policy has "weakened" because of rising demand for Chinese products during the pandemic, and because many enterprises have found ways to cope with the policy changes.

He noted that opposition is growing among US business circles against the Trump administration's hardline policies against China, and that the US government, after the upcoming presidential election, should approach the China-US trade issue in a different way.

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