China imports from US plunge 31 pct. in June amid tariff war


BEIJING (AP) — China's trade with the United States plunged last month as a tariff war battered exporters on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.

And there's no letup in sight: Tensions between the world's two biggest economies continue to simmer even though President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, called a ceasefire two weeks ago.

Data out today showed that the hostilities are taking a toll.

Chinese imports of U.S. goods fell 31.4 percent from a year earlier to $9.4 billion, while exports to the American market declined 7.8 percent to $39.3 billion, according to Chinese customs data. China's trade surplus with the United States widened by 3 percent to $29.9 billion.

The two countries are fighting over U.S. allegations that China deploys predatory tactics – including stealing trade secrets and forcing foreign firms to hand over technology – in a headlong drive to challenge American technological dominance.

The U.S. has imposed tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports, drawing retaliatory sanctions from Beijing on $110 billion in U.S. products. China also directed importers to find non-U.S. suppliers.

The dispute won't be easy to solve. Mistrust between Washington and Beijing runs high. And a substantive solution likely would require China to scale back its ambitions to become a world leader in advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and electric cars.

Envoys talked by phone Tuesday in their first contact since Trump and Xi met last month in Japan, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said. It gave no details or a date for more contacts.

"Our base case remains that trade talks will break down again before long," said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics in a report.

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