Spike in China's trade surplus with US
BEIJING • China's trade surplus with the US, which is at the centre of their tariff tussle, widened to a record monthly high of US$28.97 billion (S$39.6 billion) last month, up from US$24.58 billion in May,and the highest in any month since 1999.
Exports climbed to US$42.62 billion, also a high, the Customs administration said yesterday.
But the Commerce Ministry confirmed that Chinese exporters were front-loading shipments to the US to get ahead of expected tariffs. This suggests the spike in the surplus was a one-off, with analysts expecting a less favourable trade balance for China in coming months as duties on exports start to bite.
The US imposed 25 per cent tariffs on US$34 billion of Chinese goods on July 6, and announced this week a plan to add 10 per cent tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods, including furniture, handbags, pet food, refrigerators, textiles and auto parts.
GOP lawmakers frustrated over tariffs
WASHINGTON • There are signs of growing frustration among Republican lawmakers with President Donald Trump as he moves forward with new trade tariffs, though they are not ready to rein in his power.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, who rarely directly criticises Mr Trump, on Thursday said tariffs "are not the solution", and warned that pulling out of trade pacts - as Mr Trump did with the Trans-Pacific Partnership - threatens the US economy.
At a Foreign Relations Committee hearing on tariffs on Thursday, senators said they could not understand the administration's trade strategy or how it plans to obtain improved trading terms with other countries.
"It is pretty apparent we don't have a stated plan from a marketing or business standpoint," said Senator Johnny Isakson.
"We are going to be in a terrible situation because we don't have a plan."
Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the committee, said tariffs imposed on steel and aluminium on national security grounds are disrupting supply chains and hurting businesses.
China to strengthen Brics cooperation
BEIJING • China pledged yesterday to boost cooperation with fellow Brics countries in response to soaring frictions with the US, as it seeks to cultivate alliances to help it weather a bruising trade war.
China will enhance coordination on macroeconomic policies with Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa in response to the "challenges posed by the changing policies of certain developed countries", said Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Jun, in an oblique reference to the US.
While the US has "no respect for rules of international law", the Brics countries all shared a clear stance towards global markets, Mr Zhang said, echoing Beijing's oft-stated position that China - which the US and others have accused of having a mercantile, protectionist trade policy - is a guardian of free trade.