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China's trade surplus with USA widens in 2017

China's trade surplus with USA widens in 2017

China's exports and imports both increased for the first time in three years in 2017, official figures showed Friday, but trade tensions with the USA and cooling domestic demand are clouding prospects this year.

China's imports and exports to the United States expanded 15.2 percent in 2017 to 3.95 trillion yuan, accounting for 14.2 percent of the total trade volume.

In December alone, China imported 7.9 million tonnes of natural gas with total value of 19.8 billion yuan (about 3 billion USA dollars).

Imports of soybeans hit their second-highest monthly total in December of 9.55 million tonnes, and a record 95.54 million tonnes for the year.

China's trade surplus with the United States previous year rose to a record high, a statistic that is unlikely to help ease tensions between the world's two largest economies.

Trade with China is politically sensitive as the world's second-largest economy runs surpluses against many of its trading partners.

Sinopec will take the lead in exploration of liquified natural gas (LNG) in Alaska, according to a deal signed during U.S. President Donald Trump's visit to China previous year.

President Donald Trump's administration faces a series of decisions in coming weeks on whether to enact penalties on imports of Chinese solar panels and steel and aluminum products.

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Washington has also launched the procedure for a probe into whether Chinese companies are stealing the intellectual property of US companies.

The "continued strength of China's exports to the U.S.is bound to add to U.S". The U.S.is expected to release the findings of the investigation soon.

A day before, the Chinese Commerce Ministry's spokesman sounded a defensive note to reporters about China's trade and said that the "inevitable" frictions should be resolved through negotiation.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, before the latest trade figures were published, Mr. Trump suggested he would have resorted to sterner measures to correct the trade imbalance with China if it weren't for Beijing's help in pressuring North Korea to stop its nuclear weapons development.

"Uncertainty surrounding Sino-U.S. trade ties might be a key potential downside risk in the near term", she wrote in a report. Imports for the full year were 4.69 million tonnes, the lowest since 2013, customs said, after a weak first half.

He estimated that imports declined by the biggest margin in nearly two years in volume terms in December as purchases of industrial commodities plummeted.

Other data from the Chinese government indicate substantial improvement in growth from 2016.

In 2016, China exported US$40.37 billion worth of goods to Taiwan while it imported US$139.2 billion, an annual decrease of 10.1 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively, the data showed.