Trump warns he could do ‘a lot more’ on China trade

Fredrick Soto
October 13, 2018

The increase was driven by a 13 percent increase in Chinese exports to the United States in September, according to customs office data.

Mnuchin declined to confirm a Wall Street Journal report that the White House had chose to proceed with a meeting in November between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping at the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires. Analysts had expected the surplus would shrink to $19.4 billion from $27.89 billion in August.

China's daily crude oil imports in September hit their highest level since May, customs data showed on Friday, as independent refiners looked to shore up their inventory ahead of winter.

But China's trade surplus with the United States grew 10 percent in September from a record $31 billion in August, according to China's customs administration.

President Donald Trump regularly cites the United States' massive trade deficit with China as a primary justification for his decision to implement tariffs.

The growing trade war prompted the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday to cut its global economic growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019.

Relations between the world's two largest economies have soured sharply, however, with Trump earlier Thursday vowing to inflict economic pain on China if it does not blink in a trade war.

The mogul-turned-president boasted that his tariffs had already "had a big impact".

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin - in comments published in the Financial Times this week - warned China against engaging in competitive currency devaluations.

After imposing tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods over the summer, the Trump administration last month added a 10 percent tariffs to another $200 billion worth of Chinese products, encompassing everything from household items like furniture and toys to industrial equipment.

But as United States interest rates have risen, the U.S. dollar has strengthened further, which makes American exports more expensive.

Mnuchin met on Thursday with Yi Gang, head of China's central bank.

The Chinese yuan has lost almost 10 per cent of its value against the dollar this year.

Trump has made similar accusations, although security experts say they didn't know of any Chinese influence operations comparable to Russian activities during the 2016 presidential election. The Chinese currency has been falling in value against the dollar in recent months, raising concerns that Beijing is devaluing its currency to make Chinese goods more competitive against US products.

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