BEIJING : China’s imports from the United States plunged in June amid a tariff war with Washington while exports to the U.S. market weakened.
Imports of U.S. goods fell 31.4% from a year earlier to $9.4 billion, while exports to the American market declined 7.8% to $39.3 billion, customs data showed Friday. China’s trade surplus with the United States widened by 3% to $29.9 billion.
U.S.-Chinese trade has weakened since President Donald Trump started hiked tariffs last year on goods from China in a fight over Beijing’s technology ambitions. China retaliated with penalty duties and ordered importers to find non-U.S. suppliers.
China’s global exports sank 1.3% to $212.8 billion while imports fell 7.3% to $161.9 billion.
Trade weakness has added to pressure on Xi’s government to shore up economic growth and avoid politically dangerous job losses.
Washington is pressing Beijing to roll back plans for government-led creation of Chinese global competitors in robotics, electric cars and other technologies. The United States also wants other changes including cuts in subsidies to Chinese industry.
Chinese leaders express confidence their economy can survive the tariff fight. But while American exporters have been hit hardest, Chinese industries including electronics that Beijing sees its economic future have suffered double-digit declines in sales to the United States, their biggest market.
Economists say even if a settlement is reached, China’s exports this year will be lackluster due to weak global demand, putting pressure on manufacturers that support millions of jobs.