China’s trade surplus with the United States rose dramatically in 2018, despite a tit-for-tat tariff war with the U.S. that has roiled global markets.
The surplus stood at a record-high $323.3 billion, compared to $275.8 billion recorded the year before.
Data released Monday by China’s customs bureau shows the country’s exports to the U.S. grew more than 11 percent in 2018. Imports from the United States rose only slightly (0.7 percent).
But the data also revealed that exports slowed by 3.5 percent last month, as the administration of President Donald Trump imposed a series of stiff tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese goods to force Beijing to buy more American goods and to resolve issues involving technology, intellectual property and cyber theft issues.
The data also revealed mixed news about the strength of the world’s second-biggest economy – while China’s global trade surplus was $352 billion for 2018, its global exports dropped 4.4 percent in December compared to a year earlier, while imports plunged 7.6 percent, suggesting softening demand both at home and abroad.
Figures released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers show that car sales fell in 2018 – the first time in 20 years for a decline.