China’s trade surplus with the U.S. surged 17 percent higher in 2018 to hit $323.32 billion in 2018, according to commerce data.
That is the largest surplus ever, based on records dating back to 2006, an analysis by Reuters found. China’s surplus is the U.S.’s trade deficit.
The surplus surged despite the Trump administration imposing tariffs on nearly $250 billion of goods made in China. But those tariffs did not take effect until the second half of 2018 and the bulk of them only went into effect at the end of September. Absent the tariffs, it is likely the surplus would have been even higher.
The trade gap widened because China’s exports to the U.S. rose 11.3 percent last year while imports from the U.S. rose by a paltry 0.7 percent.
In December alone, China’s trade surplus with the U.S. was $29.87 billion. In November, it was even higher: $35.54 billion.
The bigger trade gap may add pressure on the Trump administration to raise the tariffs on China further.