November 08, 2017
HONG KONG — With President Donald Trump due to arrive in Beijing Wednesday, China has reported that its trade surplus with the United States narrowed by $1.5 billion last month.
Official customs data showed the surplus fell to $26.6 billion in October from $28.1 billion the previous month.
China's trade surplus with the U.S. for the year to date came in at nearly $223 billion.
The trade surplus, a politically sensitive number, is in the spotlight as Trump travels to China as part of his Asian tour. He's scheduled to meet China's President Xi Jinping in a visit that has trade high on the agenda.
Trump has been outspoken in his dislike of swollen U.S. trade deficits and wants to reduce them, but has yet to say what he might propose to Beijing.
China's trade surplus with the United States stood at $347 billion in 2016, far and away the biggest among all U.S. trading partners.
Washington has boosted duties on Chinese goods such as stainless steel and plywood to offset what it says are improper subsidies and is investigating whether Beijing pressures foreign companies to hand over technology in return for market access.
Some American companies worry that Trump's focus on trade in goods might mean he pays too little attention to barriers to market access in services such as finance and health care.