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China's trade surplus with US soars 19.4% in Q1

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China's trade surplus with the United States surged 19.4 per cent on-year in the first quarter, data showed Friday, as trade tensions between the world's two largest economies simmer.

[BEIJING] China's trade surplus with the United States surged 19.4 per cent on-year in the first quarter, data showed Friday, as trade tensions between the world's two largest economies simmer.

The surplus reached US$58 billion in January-March, customs bureau spokesman Huang Songping said at a briefing in Beijing. Exports to the US rose 14.8 per cent on-year, while imports grew 8.9 per cent.

"We don't strive for a favourable balance of trade (for China), the current state of trade affairs are shaped by the market," said Mr Huang.

"We hope that the US will listen patiently to rational and pragmatic voices on the trade balance issue."

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He reiterated that China does not want a trade war with the United States: "We believe that this trade friction is not conducive to China's interests, nor is it conducive to the interests of the US."

Total trade between the two nations rose 13 per cent during the quarter, China's data showed, but the first shots in the latest trade spat were not likely to be felt in the recording period.

Each side has slapped tariffs of US$3 billion in goods so far, but the United States has threatened to impose duties on more products and China has vowed to retaliate.

The US targeted steel and aluminium, while China took aim at pork and wine among a slew of other products from the US.

AFP