US trade deficit with China grows to a record and it’s likely even worse than the data shows

Despite U.S. President Donald Trump launching a high-stakes trade war against Beijing last year, China on Monday announced that its 2018 trade surplus with Washington was its largest in more than a decade.

China’s surplus with the U.S. grew 17 percent from a year ago to hit $323.32 billion in 2018, according to government data. It was the highest on record dating back to 2006, according to Reuters. The deficit that the U.S. has with China is likely even bigger than these figures indicate since China calculates the numbers using different methods, sometimes excluding goods that end up in the U.S. via other countries.

Exports to the U.S. rose 11.3 percent on-year in 2018, while imports from the U.S. to China rose a meager 0.7 percent over the same period.

China’s overall trade surplus for 2018 was $351.76 billion, the government said. Exports in the whole of 2018 rose 9.9 percent from 2017 while imports grew 15.8 percent over the same period, official dollar-denominated data showed.

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