China's trade surplus with United States rises

China releases its trade data for March. Bloomberg’s Tom Mackenzie reports

Assuming both countries do not come to an agreement, President Xi could request for an arbitration hearing against the U.S.

Xi was touring the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in the South China Sea on Thursday.

The report said she had lived through five wars while living in Syria, including the 1967 six-day war, when Israel hit a Syrian airbase where her husband was serving.

"This year, we will considerably reduce auto import tariffs, and at the same time reduce import tariffs on some other products", Xi said. "We believe that this trade friction is not conducive to China's interests, nor is it conducive to the interests of the United States".

Another US carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, patrolled the waters disputed last month, participating in an anti-submarine drill in the South China Sea with Japanese forces and visiting Vietnam with its 5,000-strong crew, the largest US military presence there since the Vietnam War ended in 1975.

While U.S. officials, including Trump, have recently expressed optimism that the two sides would hammer out a trade deal, Chinese officials in recent days have said negotiations would be impossible under "current circumstances". In response, the U.S has maintained a policy of using U.S. Navy vessels and aircraft to patrol the South China Sea in order to assert freedom of navigation rights.

Still, last month's surplus with the United States fell to $15.4 billion from February's $21 billion, while it was also down from $17.7 billion during the same period in 2017.

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That produced a trade deficit of US$4.98 billion for the month, but such shortfalls are not uncommon for China early in the year, likely due to seasonal factors.

"We put a $50 billion tariff on, and then we put $100 billion tariff on".

It has also proved increasing boisterous in territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas and over Taiwan, a self-ruled territory Beijing claims as its own.

Imports of commodities continued to lead the way in March, with shipments of copper, crude oil, iron ore and soybeans all rising from the previous month.

China's tech sector, which is key part of Beijing's longer-term "Made in China 2025" strategy to move from cheap goods to higher-value manufacturing, may be particularly vulnerable.

While China was busy selling more to the US, it was buying more from other countries, and ran a $9.86 billion deficit with the rest of the world in the quarter.

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