China's June exports fall, imports shrink more than expected


China also directed importers to find non-U.S. suppliers.

China's trade with countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) posted robust growth in the first half (H1) of this year, official data showed Friday.

China's economic performance in the first half of 2019 is in line with expectations, according to Vice-Premier Liu He, with Beijing seeking to shore up confidence as it digs in for a potentially protracted trade war with the United States.

Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping agreed in June to resume talks on the fight over USA complaints about Beijing's trade surplus and plans for government-led development of technology industries.

"The data confirm our view that the high tariffs have a negative impact on the domestic economy", said Tao Wang, chief China economist at UBA AG in Hong Kong.

Liang's complaint came a day after Trump accused Beijing of "letting us down" by not promptly buying more USA farm products.

That left China with a trade surplus of $50.98 billion last month, compared with a $41.66 billion surplus in May.

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Envoys talked by phone Tuesday in their first contact since Trump and Xi met in Japan, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said.

"Hopefully, they will start soon". Both sides will continue these talks as appropriate, the official said, without offering more details on the next steps.

China's global exports sank 1.3 percent to $212.8 billion while imports fell 7.3 percent to $161.9 billion. The Chinese government said in June that any purchases must be at a reasonable level, suggested Beijing was becoming more cautious about making big commitments before it sees what Washington offers in exchange.

A date for face-to-face talks was not agreed during the call, although trade tensions between China and the USA remain high, given there has been little progress to resolve the conflict since the ceasefire was agreed.

The U.S. has imposed tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports, drawing retaliatory sanctions from Beijing on $110 billion in U.S. products. "While a deal makes sense for both sides this year, it's far from guaranteed and could hit many more snags".

Trump also claimed Xi had agreed that China would buy large amounts of U.S. agricultural goods.