China's trade with the United States shrank by double digits in August as the two sides prepare for trade talks with no sign of progress toward ending a worsening tariff war that threatens global economic growth.
Imports of US goods fell 22.5% from a year earlier to $10.3 billion following Chinese tariff hikes and orders to companies to cancel orders, customs data showed Sunday. Exports to the United States, China's biggest market, sank 16% to $44.4 billion.
Chinese exporters also face pressure from weakening global demand at a time when Beijing is telling them to find other markets to replace the US.
China's global exports declined 3% to $214.8 billion, a marked reversed from July's 12.2% gain. Imports were up 1.7% at $180 billion.
US and Chinese negotiators are preparing for talks in October over Beijing's trade surplus and complaints about its technology development tactics. Neither side has given any sign of offering concessions that might break a deadlock.
The decision to go ahead with talks despite the latest tit-for-tat tariff hikes on Sept. 1 encouraged global financial markets.
Talks are due to take place in early October, later than initially planned, but the two governments have yet to set a date. Investors were unsettled by a report officials were struggling to agree on a schedule.
The latest Chinese figures reflected the possible delayed impact of a US tariff hike on July 6. Forecasters had expected that to depress July sales to the United States.
The president's tone was in marked contrast to the steady hardening of positions in the number one and two economies.
The trade spat has turned into a war of words since President Donald Trump blacklisted Huawei last week over concerns the telecom giant's equipment could be used by Beijing for espionage.
Ties between the two powers are once again taking centre stage at the weekend Singapore conference known as the Shangri-La Dialogue, which gathers defence ministers and top military officials from around the world.
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