China 2017 Exports to North Korea Up 8.3% -- Customs

Reuters

China's trade growth cooled in December in a possible sign of weaker global and domestic demand, but last year's total exports rose 7.9 percent over 2016 while imports were up 15.9 percent.

The billionaire's comments and economically nationalist platform - including pulling out of a key Pacific pact and threatening to tear up another with Canada - have fanned fears of a trade war.

China's trade surplus in December with the 28-nation European Union, its biggest trading partner, stood at $14.6 billion.

Indeed, China became the world's biggest global trader in 2013, but lost its position at the summit to the United States in 2016 following two hard years of difficulties.

China has so far resisted taking major retaliatory action against United States imports despite a volley of new duties and investigations from the White House.

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China's December imports from North Korea slumped 81.6 percent year-on-year to $54.34 million, China's customs said on Friday.

It will be hard to keep double-digit trade growth this year given the many global uncertainties and a high comparison base, Huang said. Imports missed analysts' forecast of 13.0 percent growth and were a sharp decrease from the 17.7 percent rise in the previous month. 2017 imports are the highest since 2014. Last month marked the first time since mid-2016 that imports grew slower than exports.

Commenting on the trade issue, Huang Songping (黃頌平), spokesman of the General Administration of Customs, said that there is hope for deeper cross-strait cooperation, with trade becoming stronger this year as long as factors that dampen relations between the two sides can be eliminated. Total annual oil product exports past year hit 52.2 million tonnes, up 8% over 2016.

Fuel imports a year ago rose 6.4% to 29.64 million tonnes.

"China's exports may continue to benefit from global recovery this year", said Ding Shuang, chief economist for Greater China and North Asia at Standard Chartered in Hong Kong.

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