BEIJING — China’s trade with the United States plunged last month as a tariff war battered exporters on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.
And there’s no letup in sight: Tensions between the world’s two biggest economies continue to simmer even though President Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, called a ceasefire two weeks ago.
Data out Friday showed that the hostilities are taking a toll.
Chinese imports of US goods fell 31.4 percent from a year earlier to $9.4 billion, while exports to the American market declined 7.8 percent to $39.3 billion, according to Chinese customs data. China’s trade surplus with the United States widened by 3 percent to $29.9 billion.
The two countries are fighting over US allegations that China deploys predatory tactics — including stealing trade secrets and forcing foreign firms to hand over technology — in a headlong drive to challenge American technological dominance.
The US has imposed tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports, drawing retaliatory sanctions from Beijing on $110 billion in US products. China also directed importers to find non-US suppliers.
The dispute won’t be easy to solve. Mistrust between Washington and Beijing runs high. And a substantive solution likely would require China to scale back its ambitions to become a world leader in advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and electric cars.