Chinese exports accelerate as U.S. prepares new tariffs in heated row

A Chinese worker looks on as a cargo ship is loaded at a port in Qingdao Shandong Province

China has announced plans to put tariffs of 25% on U.S. products worth $16 billion, the latest move in an escalating trade war. The number of categories of goods subject to tariffs rose to 333 from 114 in the June draft, although the total value is unchanged.

The first round of President Donald Trump's punitive tariffs on China will hit the full $50 billion in goods starting August 23, the government announced Tuesday.

The surplus with the United States was higher than China's overall trade surplus in July, which was $28.05 billion, indicating China ran a net trade deficit with the world excluding the U.S. Beijing, accusing the United States of trade bullying, has retaliated by imposing tariffs on an equal measure of American goods.

This is part of the US' response to China's "unfair trade practices" related to the forced transfer of American technology and intellectual property, the US Trade Representative (USTR) said.

Trump has also threatened to raise those 10 percent tariffs to 25 percent. Economic threats will continue escalating before any settlement is possible, they said.

In a statement Wednesday, the Chinese Commerce Ministry charged the United States has "once again put domestic law above global law by imposing "very unreasonable" new tariffs on Chinese goods".

"We expect export growth to cool in the coming months, though this will primarily reflect softer global growth rather than United States tariffs, the direct impact of which will continue to be mostly offset by the renminbi's (yuan's) recent depreciation".

The president remains confident that his "America First" overhaul of USA trade policy is paying dividends. Schneider National Carriers Inc. and other firms testified during a hearing July 24-25 in Washington that there are no U.S. manufacturers and that the containers are nearly exclusively made in China. That's soon enough to be used by Trump as a rallying argument, but late enough so that adverse effects will not occur before January 2019.

"In general, the performance of China's retail sector was rather sluggish in July", it said, noting that a 6.5 per cent rise in cosmetics sales was the one bright spot.

President Donald Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on almost all Chinese imports to the US.

The latest commentary from state media on Wednesday took a softer line after resorting to personal attacks against Trump earlier in the week, saying China could get through the storm but refrained from directly mentioning the USA president.

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