China says 'bully' United States started a trade war

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Others say the latest data shows how hard it will be for the United States to win the trade war, arguing that Americans want to buy Chinese-made products.

Washington added 25 per cent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods on July 6 in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.

The data comes as President Trump has ratcheted up a trade war with China and other close American trade partners, including Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

Wang said he had been under the impression that four rounds of high level talks in recent months between China and the United States had averted the trade war.

Firing the first shots in a trade war that has rattled financial markets and raised risks to the global economy, Washington last week imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports, drawing rapid retaliatory duties by Beijing on the same amount of United States exports to China. That leaves about $80 billion for penalty tariffs after Beijing's previous increases either imposed or threatened on a total of $50 billion of US goods are counted. "Trade wars are not easy to win", he said.

China's June exports rose 11.3 percent from a year earlier, China General Administration of Customs reported, beating forecasts for a 10 percent increase according to the latest Reuters poll of 39 analysts, and down from a 12.6 percent gain in May.

"Looking ahead, export growth will cool in the coming months as USA tariffs start to bite alongside a broader softening in global demand", Julian Evans-Pritchard, Senior China Economist at Capital Economics in Singapore wrote in a note, though he noted a weaker yuan should help offset some of the decline.

After a strong start to the year, growth in China's exports has moderated recently, and is expected to face more pressure from the initial round of USA tariffs.

Analysts also pointed out that Chinese export growth slowed to 11.3% year on year in June, from 12.2% in May, illustrating that exporters, faced with the threat of further trade barriers, were becoming more circumspect in sending goods overseas.

The new tariffs would kick in within 60 days.

Investors fear a prolonged trade battle with the United States could harm business confidence and investment, disrupting global supply chains and harming growth in China and the rest of the world.

Growth in imports for June showed a moderate slowdown from May, official data showed on Friday.

But in a statement coming from the Chinese Commerce Ministry, The Asian nation said the surplus was overestimated and caused by America's own "domestic structural problems". China also said both its imports and exports with the USA rose in the first half of 2018.

The spiraling battle between Beijing and Washington shows no signs of cooling down.

"Still, we do not expect a plunge because those tariffs only targeted $34bn worth of goods which is fairly small compared to China's total trade", she said.

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