- China said Friday it is in contact with the United States amid reports of a planned meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump next month following a dive in the US stock market blamed partly on a growing trade war between the world's two largest economies.
For January-September, China's trade surplus with the United States was $225.79 billion, compared with about $196.01 billion in the same period a year ago.
Formally accusing China of manipulating the renminbi wouldn't trigger any sanctions or retribution, but the move would heighten tensions between the world's two biggest economies.
President Donald Trump regularly cites the United States' massive trade deficit with China as a primary justification for his decision to implement tariffs. There is no specific date set for the next round of tariffs, even as Trump has made repeated threats to impose them on virtually all Chinese goods.
"We're having discussions about a potential meeting", Mnuchin said, indicating that the two leaders could meet if the USA side felt the trade discussions were moving in a positive direction.
China's exports to the USA continued to rise at a double- digit clip in September compared with a year earlier, while imports fell for the first time since February.
Trump should take notice of the statistics, said Huo Jianguo, a trade expert at the Center for China and Globalization in Beijing.
Exports to the United States rose to $46.7 billion, down from August's 13.4 percent growth, customs data showed Friday.
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"For decades China has maintained a concerted, central government-run strategy to acquire nuclear technology to gain economic advantage", a USA official said on condition of anonymity.
Communist officials have ordered companies to stop buying American soybeans - the biggest US export to China - and find alternative suppliers and export markets for other goods.
The U.S. Treasury Department's staff has advised Secretary Steven Mnuchin that China isn't manipulating the yuan as the Trump administration prepares to issue a closely watched report on foreign currencies, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Mnuchin met Thursday with Yi Gang, head of China's central bank.
China exports to the rest of the world grew 14.5 percent year on year in US Dollar (USD) terms, which is nearly double expectations.
In a separate report, the Department of Labor said the prices of goods imported from China fell 0.1 percent in September, the third month in a row of falling prices.
The government is also concerned about diversion for use of technology by other countries, one of the officials said. It also slashed China's growth forecast for next year to 6.2 percent from 6.4 percent.
The growing trade war prompted the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday to cut its global economic growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019. Otherwise, China's export performance as of September is steady, and a bit disappointing in the case of non-Japan Asia.